Veterans of wars in the Middle East who were exposed to toxic burn pits will now get the VA health care they deserve after the U.S. Senate passed the PACT Act. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday 86-11.
Senator Amy Klobuchar says this historic legislation delivers comprehensive relief to all generations of toxic-exposed veterans for the first time in the nation’s history.
“When we ask our young men and women to defend our nation, we make a promise to be there for them when they return home,” said Klobuchar.
“Caring for our veterans should never be politicized, and despite the unnecessary delay, we have come one step closer to delivering on that promise.”
Between 2007 and 2020, about 75 percent of disability claims related to burn pit exposure were denied by the VA.
Minnesota American Legion Commander Jennifer Havlick applauds the Senate’s bipartisan action.
“The American Legion has pushed tirelessly for this legislation to pass Congress. Legionnaires told their lawmakers again and again to vote for this bill,” said Havlick of Duluth Post 28.
“Now, once the president signs it into law, the Legion can move forward with making sure the VA executes the intent of the PACT Act and that these veterans receive timely and effective health care. Our government put them in toxic situations, and our government must not leave them to suffer or die.”
The PACT Act addresses known issues affecting access to VA benefits and care, while also reforming VA’s presumptive decision-making process. As many as 3.5 million veterans were exposed to airborne hazards and burn pits in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the law in the coming days.