The widely supported bipartisan measure looked to expand medical coverage for millions of combatants exposed to toxic burn pits during their service.
Blindsided veterans erupted in anger and indignation Thursday after Senate Republicans suddenly tanked a widely supported bipartisan measure that would have expanded medical coverage for millions of combatants exposed to toxic burn pits during their service.
Supporters of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act — or PACT Act — overwhelmingly expected the House-passed bill to sail through to the president's desk for signature.
But in a move that shocked and confused veteran groups Wednesday night, 41 Senate Republicans blocked the bill's passage, including 25 who had supported it a month ago.
"We really expected yesterday to be a procedural vote that would go with easy passage," said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a nonprofit veterans’ organization. "That was the absolute expectation."
The PACT Act would have expanded VA health care eligibility to more than 3.5 million post-9/11 combat veterans who were exposed to toxins while serving in the military. ...........