ANTIGUA, Guatemala—Upon the United States Senate’s failure earlier this week to vote for cloture during debate on a toxic exposure bill which would help an estimated 3.5 million veterans in getting the care they need and deserve, Democrats Abroad’s Global Veterans and Military Families (VMF) Caucus leadership team expressed outrage in response.
The bill in question, S. 3373 (formerly H.R. 3967), the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022, or “PACT Act,” is a bipartisan and bicameral agreement which would enable a presumption of service-connection for veterans’ illnesses and injuries directly related to respiratory inhalation of toxic burn pits, exposure to dangerous radiation stemming from the Cold War, covering our military’s Agent Orange victims who fought in Laos and Cambodia, and other locations.
New Mexico voter and Acting Chair of the VMF Caucus, Kee Evans, stated, “It is unconscionable for lawmakers to break their promises to veterans fighting for these desperately-needed health benefits. We should be celebrating a historic legislative victory right now, not trying to understand why Senate Republicans would become cowards at the last possible minute and deny veterans enactment of the incredibly important PACT Act.”
Michael Ramos, a VMF Caucus Steering Committee member and Illinois voter, added his expression of anger. “Senate Republicans once again back-stabbed America’s veterans who’ve been tirelessly fighting for these earned benefits. Make no mistake: this was a key vote for our upcoming legislative score card. November is just around the corner and we intend to ensure that every veteran, military family member, and ally of the veterans’ community is aware of what just happened in the Senate, and who is responsible.”
Given Senate Republicans’ sudden and unexpected opposition to helping veterans, it is unclear if the PACT Act will remain on the legislative radar of Congress between now and the 2022 General Election. VMF Caucus leaders strongly urge all Americans to continue demanding from their Senators immediate passage of this once-in-a-generation legislation.
Contact your U.S. Senators today and ask them to fast-track this legislation so it gets to the president’s desk quickly!