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Senate approves toxic burn pits bill to aid vets

Kimberly Hughes
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON– The U.S. Senate has passed legislation providing disability benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.
The bill was approved on Wednesday by a vote of 86-11.
The legislation was originally approved by the Senate back in June, but because of a technical fix, it was sent back to the drawing board. Republican lawmakers also attempted to fit in a last-minute item which blocked the bill from advancing.
With growing pressure from the public, the Senate voted on the bill instead of delaying it any further.
The bill will now go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Biden described the bill as the largest single bill ever to address exposure to burn pits:
“I look forward to signing this bill, so that veterans and their families and caregivers impacted by toxic exposures finally get the benefits and comprehensive health care they earned and deserve,” Biden said.
The military used a practice where they used the pits to dispose of chemicals, cans, tires, plastics, and medical and human waste.
Veterans and their families have for years been fighting for legislation after identifying the burn pits as the source of their illnesses upon turning home.
The majority of disability claims involving the burn pits had been denied by the VA due to a lack of evidence and information from the Defense Department.