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Veterans Health Bill Marks Biden's Personal Victory

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Chris Megerian

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden rattles off policy proposals in this year's State of the Union address while burning garbage creates toxic fumes. A veteran suffering from cancer after serving on a rising military base.

"One of his soldiers was his son Major Beau Biden," he said.

Although the president was careful not to draw a direct line between the burns and his son's fatal cancer, he did not believe there was a connection. There was no doubt. The tragic death seven years ago marks a ceremony on Wednesday when Biden plans to sign legislation expanding federal health care for veterans in one of his most personal moments since taking office.

Senator John Tester (D-Mont), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said Biden was a driving force behind the bill passed last week.

"Whether Bo died from this or not, Joe thinks it had some impact, so he wanted to fix this, so he was constantly pushing "And he thought it was the right thing to do. Different presidents have different priorities and this probably wouldn't have happened."

Iraq and Afghanistan Incinerators were used to dispose of chemicals, cans, tires, plastics, medical equipment and human waste. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs has dismissed 70% of disability allegations involving pit exposure.

This law directs officials to assume that certain respiratory diseases and cancers are linked to exposure to burn scars, and veterans are encouraged to assume that the illnesses are the result of their service.

"Veterans who are too sick to work or care for their families fight the government to get medical care." They don't have to spend time on things they earned," said Jeremy Butler, head of Veterans America's Iraq and Afghanistan. "This is monumental."

The provision for burnt scars has received the most attention, but other medical services will be expanded as well.

10 years to sign up for double VA Healthcare.

And there is more support for veterans from the Vietnam War. Add hypertension to the list of presumed diseases.

In addition, veterans who served during the war in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll are also considered to have been exposed to chemicals.

The law, considered the largest expansion of veterans' health care in more than 30 years, is unlikely to become political football shortly before it is passed.

On the day the Senate was expected to give final approval, Republicans unexpectedly blocked it. Veterans who traveled to Washington for a moment of victory were devastated.

"All the veterans were there because they were expecting a celebration," said Butler. "And they were completely stabbed in the back."

Republicans said they were concerned about technological changes in how the bill was funded. Democrats blamed them for the seizure because they were unhappy with another deal to advance Biden's domestic policies on climate change, taxes and prescription drugs.

Some veterans started having what they called "fire guards" outside the Capitol instead of going home.

Despite the stifling summer heat and violent thunderstorms, they stayed with him around the clock. Comedian Jon Stewart, who has championed veterans, also joined. Biden wanted to go but couldn't because he was in quarantine with coronavirus. So when Veterans Secretary Dennis McDonough dropped the pizza off, he spoke to demonstrators via video call.

A few days after the demonstrations began, the Senate held another vote and passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Veterans watched the voting take place in the gallery.

"Everyone I was with was crying. Ex-Army Captain Matt Zeller, who was among the demonstrators, said, 'I cried for five straight minutes.

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Associated Press writer Sung Min Kim contributed to this report.