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Toxic exposure legislation for major veterans has been delayed again, but legislators claim it is not a defeat

This week to finalize a bill that dramatically expands the interests of veterans facing injuries from toxic exposure due to procedural issues. Planned votes have been terminated They are engaged in service, but parliamentary leaders claim the problem is solvable and the bill will be passed within a few weeks. ing.

House and Senate leaders sent a promise to President Joe Biden's desk to deal with the Comprehensive Toxic Act (or PACT Act). July 4, after the Senate pushed the bill a week ago with 84-14 votes from the bipartisan.

This measure will cost about $ 280 billion over the next 10 years , and one in five veterans living in the United States today will have new medical care and Brings the benefits of disability. ..

This represents the culmination of many years of work from supporters who claimed that the current rules block many victims of injuries from exposure to toxic substances on duty. In particular, smoke from burn pits was used to dispose of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan — because they deserve care.

The House of Representatives approved this measure in March. In response to Republican complaints about the new benefits of the Department of Veterans Affairs labor and the cost of potential labor growth, Senate leaders will assist in the processing of phased implementation rules and claims. Amended the bill to add staff.

Pact act
Sen. Pat Toomey

However, these changes violated a rule requiring new revenue requirements starting in the House of Representatives rather than the Senate. The House vote, which was planned to finalize the bill on Wednesday, was postponed, and chamber of commerce leaders scrambled to amend the bill before lawmakers began a two-week recess on Friday. ..

John Tester, D-Mont, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Commission. Tried to push the Senate floor fix late Thursday night, but the bid was for Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa. Was blocked by. One of the 14 senators who oppose last week's bill.

Testers called it disappointment.

Jon Stewart

"There is a [technical] problem that needs to be fixed. "He said. "But in the course of our discussion, we should not deny health care for veterans, which is exactly what [Toomey] is doing today."

Congressional leaders He emphasized that procedural issues are not fatal to the future of the PACT Act and represent a temporary delay.

Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Veterans Commission, intends to get a House vote on the bill "after the Senate resolves this procedural speed bump." Said that. By mid-July.

"The House and Senate leadership are not hesitant to pass the PACT Act," he said in a statement. "This comprehensive package of dealing with toxic veterans is my top priority legislative priority and continues to be relentless in delivering it to President Biden's desk."

The next house vote may be easier than the previous one. In March, the bill was passed primarily in line with party policy, as the Republicans expressed concern about the perceived shortcomings of the bill. After the Senate amendment, Republican Rep. Mike Bost, a ranking member of the House Veterans Commission, said he would support the bill the second time it was issued.

Still, complications have caused frustration and anger among some supporters who have lobbied for faster action over the years.


A comedian who headlined numerous gatherings around Capitol Hill last year. In favor of the Jon Stewart PACT Act, he called the latest Senate delay on Twitter "a cynical nonsense that delays veterans' medical care."

Both houses will return from the recess on July 11th. Parliamentarians may take the next few days to make procedural amendments and conduct relevant floor votes.

Biden has already indicated that he will sign the bill when it is finalized by Congress.