The Senate passed Act No. 86-11, the Commitment to Address the Comprehensive Toxic Problems Act (PACT). The legislation expands health care benefits for veterans with various conditions associated with burn pits.
It is widely believed that the PACT bill will pass the Senate without a hitch. However, last week a large group of Republicans reversed their original stance on the legislation, which proved wrong. Claim: Democrats changed original language reviewed earlier this summer.
The reversal caused considerable confusion in the Capitol, with comedian-turned-veteran advocate Jon Stewart at the center. He had some tough words for the failing Republicans. With famous people choosing ridiculous pet projects to support, it’s great to see one step up for veterans.
Jon Stewart said immediately after PACT passed: “It feels good. It shouldn’t be this hard.” pic.twitter.com/k8nr3ECkpl
— Alan He (@alanhe) August 3, 2022
America First, or America the fuck?
Jon Stewart has been an ardent supporter of veterans issues for many years. This particular question about caring for veterans’ burn pit-related illness is one he’s been advocating for for a long time. For those unfamiliar, a burn pit is just what it sounds like; the hole is filled with plastic water bottles, Styrofoam, batteries, paint cans, tires, and even ammunition.
Many of us had to work in those burn pits, and I even slept in a tent next to it for nine months. As you can imagine, this inhalation and exhalation of smoke is bad for your health.
Proximity to these burn pits has been linked to various respiratory diseases and cancers. Unfortunately, until now, the Veterans Administration (VA) has not considered toxin exposure as service-related.
So what does this mean for veterans with debilitating respiratory disease or terminal cancer?This means that their VA application is more likely to be denied 75% of claims are related to burn pits Get the rejection stamp.
Support conservative voices!
Sign up to receive the latest information Political news, insights and commentary delivered straight to your inbox.
When he heard that Republicans changed their minds on the bill last week, Mr Stewart Whisper to them:
“The heroes of America who fought for our war, were sweating outside, fighting all sorts of ailments with oxygen, and these bastards were sitting in the air conditioner cut off from it? They didn’t have to hear it. They didn’t have to see it. They didn’t have to Understand that these are humans.”
He ends his scolding with this dagger:
“If it’s America First, then America’s doomed.”
So why are Republicans changing?
We will never be able to pay the debt we owe to those in uniform, but today Congress delivered on a promise to our veterans and their families.
The PACT Act would be the largest expansion of Virginia health care in decades. We should all be proud of this moment. pic.twitter.com/l72HcsNJLw
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 3, 2022
Has anything changed?
The argument made by many Republicans who changed their minds last week was that Democrats changed the original wording of the legislation. Are they telling the truth?
Not really. The wording in the legislation has not changed Except for parts unrelated to helping veterans burn pits are removed.
Again, where is the problem? Perhaps it’s better to ask Sen. Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, who, in all fairness, opposed the bill for the same reasons he says now.
Senator Toomey’s Argument The accounting classifications in the Act then and now will:
“…Let our Democratic colleagues continue on an unrelated $400 billion spending binge.”
When asked to elaborate, he awkwardly state:
“That’s why they do this kind of thing. Because it’s deep in the weeds, it gets confusing quickly. It’s not about veterans spending, it’s the category they put veterans spending into government bookkeeping.”
Why he doesn’t just explain accounting principles he doesn’t like in the bill is beyond my comprehension. But while government accounting is as fun as looking at paint, the concept he’s referring to isn’t hard to explain; I’ll arrange it for you.
Ted Cruz voted for the PACT Act in June.
Then Ted Cruz voted to block the PACT Act in July.
Then Ted Cruz voted for the PACT Act today.
The text of the bill is the same every time.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) August 3, 2022
government accounting issues
The $400 billion Senator Toomey mentioned was initially discretionary, but it was later changed to mandatory. The difference between the two is relatively simple.
Discretionary funding is set by Congress and can be changed at any time. So if a project doesn’t seem to need as much money as it did the year before, Congress can adjust funding to better meet the project’s needs.
Mandatory funding has a predetermined amount set by law and requires an act of Congress to change. So the concern of Mr. Toomey and others like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is that if it turns out that the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t need all this money to help veterans with burns, it will use it in other ways without government oversight. Congress.
To be fair, I think this is a valid point. However, some on the other side argue that some Republicans are simply bashing another bill.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut says:
“The less benevolent explanation: Republicans are outraged that Democrats are about to pass climate change legislation and have decided to take their anger out on vulnerable veterans.”
It is difficult to determine whether Mr Murphy is correct in his relevance to climate change legislation. But it doesn’t surprise me that lawmakers use veterans as political pawns.
Veterans and survivors have waited too long for the health care and benefits they receive — and the Senate shouldn’t make them wait any longer.
They must now pass the PACT Act.
– Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (@SecVetAffairs) July 29, 2022
A victory for veterans?
With the final passage of the PACT Act on Tuesday, veterans want the care they deserve. However, those of us who have dealt with VA remain skeptical.
Currently, Virginia has 595,862 pending claims. Of these, 164,743 are considered backlogged because they have been waiting for more than 125 days.
Passage of the bill is estimated to increase thousands of claims over the years since about 3.5 million of us have suffered burn pit exposure. Virginia Secretary Dennis McDonough promise:
“Once the President signs this bill into law, we at the Department of Veterans Affairs will implement it quickly and effectively to provide these veterans with the care they need and the benefits they deserve.”
and Controversy surrounding VA still lingers I won’t take a stab at a 73-year-old veteran who beat a 73-year-old veteran at a Georgia clinic because the system didn’t work, and a VA clinic in Florida delayed care for a heart-failure veteran. The new rules hold your breath quickly.
Jon Stewart says After the bill is finally passed:
“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it happen where people who have given so much have to fight so hard to get so little.”
Unfortunately, that’s what those of us who have served are used to. “Support the troops” is a cliché used to buy tickets and look good on campaign photos.
As someone with a lot of burn letters in my military medical file, I hope that one day we will get the support we deserve.
Now is the time to support and share your trusted resources.
Political Insider ranked third Feedspot “100 Best Political Blogs and Websites.”