Vermont Rep. Peter Welch on Thursday criticized Republican opposition to a Senate bill that would have expanded health care for millions of veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their service.
“For there to be anything in the way to getting this health care relief to our veterans is uoutrageous,” Welch said.
The Pact Act, passed by the House earlier this month, would have provided additional VA health benefits to more than 3 million post-9/11 veterans exposed to toxic hazards such as burn pits and Agent Orange.
All Democrats and eight Republicans voted for The Pact Act. But more than two dozen GOP senators opposed the bill, meaning it fell short of the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster.
The burn pits were used for the combustion of medical waste, human waste, and other waste that required disposal. Exposure to those toxins can lead to asthma, rhinitis and cancer.
“The cost of the war has to include the cost of caring for the warrior,” Welch said. “This is our obligation. This is not a partisan thing, it’s what we owe men and women who put on uniforms to protect us.”