Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Senate passes burn pits legislation, sent to President Biden’s desk

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 86-11 on the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 (H.R. 3967), historic legislation that would ensure veterans exposed to toxic exposure fumes from burn pits have access to care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

This comprehensive legislation, which passed the House in March, would improve the presumptive process by streamlining access to healthcare benefits for veterans, regardless of their disability status, who served in areas known for toxic exposure. An estimated 3.5 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to toxic smoke from burn pits, which included the burning of medical and human waste, jet fuel, chemicals, metal, plastics and more.

The final Senate vote came after the bill failed last week when 41 Senate Republicans voted against the legislation, citing an issue regarding discretionary spending.

“The Postal Service is one of the largest employers of veterans in the country,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “This legislation will help many veteran letter carriers who have served our nation. We are pleased to see it pass in the Senate.”

President Biden, who has supported the bill and urged the Senate to act, is expected to sign the bill into law soon. Once signed by the president, this bill will become the first law to support veterans who suffer from toxic exposure. 

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