Ultimate Guide to Understanding Burn Pits. In the last few months, members of the Senate wanted to pass the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act 2022 (PACT Act). It would provide 3.5 million veterans health care and benefits for their injuries due to exposure to open-air burn pits during their service.
The Comprehensive Toxics PACT Act came after several military veterans exposed to burning trash and other toxic chemicals at military bases reported illnesses ranging from respiratory diseases to cancer and more. However, the introduction of the PACT Act 2022 was far from smooth sailing.
In June 2022, the bill was first passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. But due to the bill’s language, there were certain reservations, which meant it would have to receive approval again from the Senate.
On July 27, 2022, after undergoing minor changes, the veteran burn pit bill headed for another vote in the Senate amid partisan turmoil, hoping to advance it through a procedural vote. However, 25 Republicans blocked the bill’s passage in the Senate, the same Republicans who showed support during the first round.
The Veterans Service Organization expressed their displeasure outside the Capitol over the sudden about-face demonstrated by the Republicans, who initially favored the bill. Even the former host of the “Daily Show,” John Stewart, had a few expletives to say over the incident.
Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, said he would put the bill forward again in the coming week for another procedural vote.
On August 1, 2022, intense debate over the PACT Act, 2022 saw Senate Republicans and Democrats battling it out in the US Senate. The “controversial” act would see $400 billion in government aid over the next ten years, sparking GOP concerns.
The bill was introduced in the US Senate last week but did not receive the required 60 votes, falling short of just five. 25 Republicans who had first voted yes for the bill agreed with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
Toomey offered to amend the bill to satisfy the concerns of both sides, allowing the bill to move forward. He stated that he supported what the bill sought to accomplish but disagreed with how the money was accounted for.
Toomey disagreed with how the money would move from discretionary spending to mandatory spending, allowing the money to be spent on programs unrelated to veterans. The shift to compulsory spending would become a way for Congress to hide its veteran-unrelated spending.
Over the weekend, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs took a jab at Toomey, stating that the amendment would introduce a year cap on veteran spending for those veterans still suffering from burn injuries.
However, Toomey took the issue to Twitter, stating that either Denis McDonough was unaware of what the amendment aimed to achieve or was dishonest.
Toomey further went on to expose McDonough for having the authority to process benefits for injuries related to toxic chemical exposure upon medical evidence but failing to do so.
On July 27, 2022, Senator Manchin’s reconciliation deal went forward when the Democrats pushed for a $700 billion climate change plan and new tax bills after the previous attempts to do so failed. Manchin spoke to reporters outside of the hearing room where he chairs the senate committee for Energy and Natural Resources.
After the Manchin deal, Democrats took shots at the Republicans for delaying the PACT Act 2022 as a way to express their disappointment over Biden’s Build Back America plan that went through.
However, according to a Senate aide, that is not true, as the Republicans had an open conversation about the PACT act 2022 before the announcement of the Manchin deal.
On Sunday, July 31, 2022, President Biden addressed the veteran community and their family members camped outside on the Capitol’s steps.
Biden was initially supposed to meet the veterans in person. But after contracting the Covid-19 virus, the President of the United States spoke about the extended health benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits over FaceTime.
Biden also expressed his frustration over how some Senators opposed the bill, legislation close to the President’s heart after his son, an ex-major in Delaware National Guard, may have contracted brain cancer from exposure to toxic burn pits, eventually leading to his death in 2015.
On Tuesday, August 2, 2022, the Senate passed the burn pits bill after previous unsuccessful attempts. The Senate received 86 votes in favor of the bill this time as cheers resonated throughout the Senate gallery. The Bill is now on its way to the White House, where President Joe Biden looks forward to signing it.
As the bill passed in the Senate, John Stewart, an avid advocate for veterans, was filled with emotions after rallying support for the bill and had tears in his eyes. He stated that the people fighting so hard to ensure the national security of Americans were getting little, but from now on, this will change.
Since President Joe Biden will most likely sign the bill, people and veterans are looking to the Department of Veterans Affairs to deliver. In decades, the PACT Act 2022 will be the most extensive expansion on VA health care eligibility and benefits.
If you were a veteran exposed to burn pits and other toxic chemicals resulting in your injuries, the PACT Act 2022 would help you recover compensation.
Previously, veterans had to prove that their illness was directly related to exposure to burn pits or other toxic chemicals. The bill will finally remove the burden of proof, allowing veterans to recover compensation for their conditions.
Speak to a qualified VA claims attorney to understand the VA claim process and assess the damages.
It’s unfair that veterans exposed to toxic fumes face challenges in recovering compensation. However, after the bill’s signing, it will provide our veterans hope of making financial recoveries for their injuries arising from their service.
If you suffered injuries while serving time at military bases due to burning pit exposure, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation. Our attorneys are ready to fight by your side and stand for your rights as you have done for us.
Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of the largest motorcycle accident settlements in U.S. History. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves in being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride, and a a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.
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