Biden expected to sign burn pit bill with veterans present

Politics

FILE – An Afghan National Army pickup truck passes parked U.S. armored military vehicles, as smoke rises from a fire in a trash burn pit at Forward Operating Base Caferetta Nawzad, Helmand province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 28, 2011. The House has approved a significant expansion of health care and disability benefits for millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Simon Klingert, File)

(NewsNation) — U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the PACT Act — also known as the “burn pit bill” — Wednesday, after the bill nearly died in the Senate when 25 Republicans rejected it.

The bill, officially titled the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promises to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022,” will help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits while serving in wars in the Middle East and Vietnam by providing easier access to health care needed to treat diseases likely associated with working near the pits.

The PACT Act is expected to provide 3 million veterans with health care services they’ll need to combat medical conditions such as cancer, tremors, skin lesions and respiratory issues associated with breathing in toxic chemical emitted from the burn pits.

“I feel like I have a loaded shotgun pointed at my head and it’s only a matter of time before cancer pulls the trigger,” retired Air Force Technical Sgt. Rocky Harlow told NewsNation.

Biden has reportedly asked a group of veterans, who were sleeping on the steps on Capitol Hill in an effort to make Republican senators change their minds about passing the law, to be present for his signing of the bill.

The bill will cost an estimated $300 billion over 10 years.

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