WASHINGTON—President Biden on Wednesday signed a bill to expand medical benefits for veterans exposed to toxins by burning garbage pits on military bases, ending a long-standing quest for help by veterans and their families. did.
This issue is very personal to the President, long speculated His son Beau developed a brain tumor after being exposed to a burn pit while serving in Iraq as the Delaware National Guard. did.
“Toxic smoke, thick poison, spreading in the air and spreading in the lungs of our troops,” he said. Many of our warriors weren’t the same…headaches, numbness, dizziness, cancer.My son Beau was one of them.”
At a packed ceremony of veterans and their families in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Biden called for progress on new legislation to fulfill a “sacred duty” to those who defended the country and its families. . The bill passed, despite Republican senators delaying its passage at the last minute. Republican senators blocked the bill from passing, but backed out after a fierce backlash.
“This is the most important law our country has ever passed to help the millions of veterans who are exposed to toxic substances during military service,” said Biden, minutes later, saying: added to We finally made it through together. ”
Burning Pits and Veterans Health
- Struggle: Members of the U.S. military have long claimed that military landfill fires in conflict zones made them sick.
- Extended Benefits: After mounting pressure on Congress to act, a new law expands medical benefits for the millions of veterans exposed to toxic burns on U.S. military bases.
- How the Bill Passed: Despite last-minute delays by Republican senators, the bill was approved by Congress.
- Supreme Court decision: In a recent 5-4 ruling, a judge sided with an Army Reservist burned in Iraq who said he was discriminated against by his employer, the state of Texas.
The law allows some veterans to sleep and work near massive fires on military bases that burned garbage, including tires, jet fuel, chemicals and other equipment, and created large clouds of smoke. We are dealing with the after effects. Studies show that toxins in smoke may be responsible for a range of illnesses among veterans, including cancer, asthma, allergic rhinitis, sleep apnea, bronchitis and sinusitis. is suggested.
A new law, known as the PACT Act, makes it easier for veterans who believe they’ve been exposed to poisons while on duty to apply for medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation created a federal fund flow of $280 billion, making him one of the largest expansions of veteran benefits in American history.
In his remarks, Mr. Biden praised years of work by his family and activists, citing comedian Jon Stewart’s impassioned, sometimes angry, demands for politicians to pass legislation.
Biden told Stewart, who was in the signing room, “John, what you did is important. You know it is.” “You should know. It’s really, really important. You didn’t let anyone forget. You refused to let them forget and we owe you a lot.”
Stewart, who has been lobbying for the bill for years, Especially vocals last monthRepublican senators abruptly refused to support the bill, citing concerns that it was structured in a way that could create costly new rights. The bill passed, and Republican senators who opposed it had voiced their firm support just weeks earlier.
Stewart, who appeared on CNN, was furious after Republicans blocked the bill, fueling a violent reaction that led to the final passage of the bill days later.
“I’m used to lies. I’m used to hypocrisy,” Stewart told Jake Tupper on CNN’s The Read. “I’m not used to brutality, casual brutality.”
In Wednesday’s remarks, Mr. Biden did not mention Republican obstruction. Instead, he focused on the bipartisan nature of the agreement, citing its passage as proof that he had delivered on his promise to bridge the ideological divides in the nation’s capital to get things done.
“I don’t want to hear the press tell me Democrats, Republicans can’t cooperate,” he said. “We made it, and we made it together.”
Sergeant’s wife Danielle Robinson. For years, Heath Robinson, who died of lung cancer after serving in Iraq, helped lead the fight for the good of new veterans. rice field.
In her White House remarks, Robinson explained how her husband developed cancer 10 years after returning from combat. She thanked Biden and other activists for urging lawmakers to pass legislation to improve access to health care and benefits after similar exposures.
“So many veterans are still battling Pitt’s disease today,” she said. I am honored to be with another military family father who understands ultimate sacrifice: our Commander in Chief, President Joe Biden.”
Beau Biden passed away in 2015 from a brain tumor.