Veterans suffering from burn pit related health issues celebrate a legislative victory today as HR 3967 passed in a 256-174 vote. The bill must still go through the Senate, which has its own version of the bill. The implication is that the two bodies will have to hash out any discrepancies between the two bills if it is to be passed into law.
HR 3967 – also known as the Honoring Our PACT Act – would open up healthcare to millions of veterans with health issues related to exposure to toxic burn pits while deployed. Until now, neither the veterans Administration nor the US military acknowledged burn pits related illness as service related health issues.
The bill, once law, would include nine additional types of cancer to the list of claimable cancers related to toxic burn pit exposure.
The vote came only two days after POTUS spoke out on the matter during his State Of The Union address on Tuesday. Biden said:
“Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have faced many dangers. I’ve been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 40 times, these burn pits that incinerate the waste of war — medical and hazardous material, jet fuel, and so much more. They came home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors in the world, never the same: headaches, numbness, dizziness, a cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin.”
Burn Pit Struggles
Currently, service members seeking treatment for burn pit related health issues bare the responsibility of proving that they were exposed to toxic burn pits. Under the new law, 23 types of cancer and respiratory sicknesses would automatically be assumed to have been caused or made worse by exposure while on deployment.
Additionally, the bill would provide retroactive benefits to service members who have had burn pit related VA claims denied in the past.