Last week, the senate approved a bill aimed at helping millions of military veterans exposed to burn pits while overseas.
Sen. Gary Peters, a cosponsor of the bill, said veterans are one his highest priorities. “Folks who are willing to put their lives on the line for us, we should certainly have their backs when they come home,” he said.
The new legislation will make it easier for veterans to claim benefits and treatment for 23 diseases and rare cancers related to toxic exposure. Many post 9/11 military members overseas were exposed to burn pits where equipment was destroyed, including vehicles and large batteries. “They were highly toxic and many of our service members were exposed to that and are now suffering from asthma, hypertension, cancers and yet they were not able to get presumption to get the treatment they deserve,” said Peters.
This bill will make it easier for veterans affected by burn pits to get help. “One thing I hear over and over again from veterans, unfortunately, is they find it very bureaucratic to get into the V.A. to get benefits,” Peters said. “When they get in, they’re very pleased, but we shouldn’t have these paperwork bureaucratic burdens. We have to make it easier for veterans to get the services they deserve.”
The need for this service was felt on both sides, republicans and democrats, and President Biden is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.