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| Michael P. Ehline

New Benefits for Burn Pit Victims in Limbo after Senate Republicans Block Plan Shocking Toxic Exposed Veterans

Senate Democratic leaders announced plans for a surprise deal that created an unexpected effect. The deal, which covered both health care and environmental policies announced by the Senate halted the toxic exposure litigation that veterans advocates were looking forward to.

The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act)

The PACT act passage, which was awaited by many, was in a procedural vote stage. It was expected that the chamber leaders would’ve facilitated the final passage of the PACT act only a few days after the fateful announcement.

Years of Advocacy

Those advocating for veterans affairs had done years of work to get to this point as they tried to secure the needed veterans’ benefits and health care for those suffering from military contaminant exposure, including:

  • Burn pit victims
  • Agent Orange spraying
  • Other common contaminants

The Actions of Republican Lawmakers

In early June, the measure passed the Senate, after comfortably securing an 84 – 14 vote. Republican leaders gave their support too just over a month later, indicated by a 342 – 88 result.

Unfortunately, technical corrections in late July ended up seeing the measure head to the Senate again. This time around, the country’s veterans would be disappointed greatly as 41 of the Senate Republicans chose to block the measure.

This turn of events has left the future uncertain for the measure, which previously seemed to have significant Republican support.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., among others who previously voted against the measure, again spoke to objections on how the measure’s money would factor into the regular appropriations process. For reference, the figure amounts to about $300 billion over 10 years.

Senate Democratic Leaders Immediately Attacked Their Republican Counterparts after the Ordeal

As indicated before, the block was synonymous with the comprehensive budget reconciliation measure announced by the Democratic lawmakers who were not shy in blasting their Republican counterparts.

The GOP caucus previously pledged opposition to the budget reconciliation measure, with increased efforts to snarl normal business being a factor in the chamber.

According to the democratic leaders, when Senate republicans block the plan with this “eleventh hour” act, they rob generations of military veterans exposed to toxins of critical health care and benefits.

Where Do the Republican leaders Stand Now?

The headline “new benefits for burn pit victims in limbo after senate republicans block plan” is certainly a cause for concern, but it doesn’t speak to the position of all of them. In fact, eight senate republicans, including Jerry Moran, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member, voted to go ahead with the bill.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible at this time to explore the minds of the opposing side since no public comment behind the move was provided. Of course, this means there’s also no word on the requirements for them to reconsider.

Initially, the advocates hoped to see the PACT act submitted to the president’s desk before the month-long recess the Senate is scheduled for in August,

Of course, this timeline appears to now be on the unrealistic side.

What the Bill Means for Iraq and Afghanistan War-affected Veterans

There were 23 reported respiratory illnesses and cancers related to burn pit smoke in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These pits saw wide use in such war zones to dispose of toxic and other kinds of waste.

What About Veterans Who Served in Other Wars?

  • The Cold War saw military veterans exposed to radiation.
  • There is also the Vietnam War era, which was synonymous with Agent Orange exposure.
  • The timeline for Gulf War medical claims would also be expanded, allowing for new medical exams for veterans who have toxic exposure claims
  • The same Agent Orange presumptive policies would also cover veterans who served in Guam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand for the first time.

Details of the Budget Reconciliation Deal

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gave some insight into the budget reconciliation matter.

Energy and climate initiatives would see about $369 billion in spending, with an initiative to extend expiring federal subsidies for people buying health insurance being awarded $64 billion.

Additionally, mostly using a 15% minimum corporate tax, there would be a 10-year period that would see revenue of $739 billion raised.

Is There Legal Aid for Veterans Suffering Injuries in Los Angeles? Call Ehline Law Firm Today!

Unfortunately, this potential landmark legislative victory did not go as planned, instead being an unexpected casualty alongside another announcement. There’s no telling the path for this piece of legislation ahead or how else political vendettas could actively harm its progress.

Nevertheless, veterans deserve to be compensated for what they suffered from burn pits while serving their country.

At Ehline Law Firm, we may not be able to push the benefits through, but we are cognizant of your rights in personal injury cases. The best way to understand what your legal options are is to speak with an experienced lawyer.

Schedule a free consultation today with an expert Los Angeles injury attorney by calling (833) LETS-SUE!

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