U.S. Senate passes bill to aid veterans exposed to toxic burn pits

(ABC 6 News) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation that would provide health care and disability benefits to millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits while deployed overseas.

The bill centers on lung problems suffered by troops who breathe in toxins and the potential connection between rare cancers and time spent overseas breathing air contaminated by toxic smoke and fumes.

The 86-11 vote on The PACT Act, is named for the late Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson of the Ohio National Guard. Robinson was deployed as a combat medic and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and Stage 4 lung cancer before dying in May 2020.

The 11 votes against the bill all came from Republicans,

The House was the first to act on the burn pits legislation, approving the bill in March.

In response to the passing of the legislation, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said, “now all of our veterans who have suffered from burn pit exposure can get the care they have always deserved. It should have never been held up. This was always the right thing to do.”

The bill is now on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk as he has previously said he plans to sign it into law.