Another Bipartisan Bill Finally Passes Senate — What Does This Mean for Veterans?

Another Bipartisan Bill Finally Passes Senate -- What Does This Mean for Veterans?

HISTORIC Bipartisan Bill PASSES Both Chambers Of Congress – On To Biden’s Desk! 

( – When the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began more than 20 years ago, troops faced the possibility of severe injuries or death from combat. They were, after all, fighting to eradicate terrorism from the two countries. Explosive devices and gunfire caused devastating injuries, similar to past wars. Yet, the service members fighting in the Middle Eastern nations also experienced unexpected injuries, and now, Congress has passed legislation to help them.

Burn Pits

Service members who served in Afghanistan suffered exposure to burn pits — giant holes containing a base’s trash, including rubber, plastics, metal, paint, human waste, and other hazards. Personnel added accelerants like jet fuel and burned the piles.

The blazes constantly burned on the bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, exposing troops to toxic chemicals for extended periods. Breathing in the carcinogens left many with liver, kidney, lung, and nerve problems. Additionally, doctors began diagnosing service members with migraines, stomach cancer, and other deadly diseases.

The Fight for Help

US Army Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson was one of the soldiers severely injured by the burn pits and later developed a rare form of stage 4 adenocarcinoma lung cancer. In an essay written by his wife, Danielle Robinson, she describes a visit with his oncologist where the doctor asked, “What the hell have you been exposed to?”

Immediately, the couple tried to secure Veteran Administration (VA) benefits and health care for him but hit roadblocks. The VA denied medications and compensation because the military didn’t consider his illness service-related. His death and fight for benefits weren’t unique and outraged many activists and lawmakers.


On August 2, the Senate passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, also known as the PACT Act. The legislation previously passed the House, and President Joe Biden will sign it.

The new law will ensure service members and their survivors exposed to burn pits and other deadly chemicals dating back decades will receive the care and compensation they’re entitled to for serving the United States. The legislation takes steps to ensure that’s possible by

  • expanding and extending eligibility to benefits for toxic exposure to veterans of the War on Terror, Gulf War, and Vietnam War;
  • helping improve the research of exposure-related diseases;
  • adding more locations for presumptive exposure of Agent Orange, and;
  • adding over 20 conditions to the list of presumptive illnesses caused by toxic exposure.

Do you know someone impacted by the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan? If so, tell us their story.

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