Listen to this article here
Wednesday night, 41 Senate Republicans voted to block the PACT Act, a bill that would expand medical coverage for millions of veterans exposed to burn pits.
In a move that shocked many, 41 Senate Republicans voted “no” on a bill that would have expanded VA healthcare eligibility to more than 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to burn pits and toxins while serving in the military.
Many view the “no” votes from Republican Senators as a politically motivated move to get back at Democrats for bills they have introduced. The only thing is the PACT Act is a life-saving measure to help those who have sacrificed their lives in war for the U.S.
What’s even more alarming is the fact that 25 of the 41 Senate Republicans who voted “no” Wednesday night voted “yes” for the bill a month ago. The original legislation was introduced in the Senate and passed with an 84-14 vote. It saw minor changes before moving to the House where it was with a 342-88 vote, and then sent back to the Senate Wednesday night.
Comedian Jon Stewart, who has often advocated on behalf of veterans in front of Congress, spoke in front of the media after the bill failed to pass.
“You don’t support the troops; you support the war machine,” said Stewart. That’s all you care about…They haven’t met a war they won’t sign up for, and they haven’t met a veteran they won’t screw over.”
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said “I’ve been in this business for 25 years in the state legislature and here, and I have never seen anything that’s happened like what happened [Wednesday]. And what compounds it and makes it that much more difficult is we, in essence, yesterday took benefits away from the people who have been impacted by a war that we set off.”
Jeremy Butler, chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called out Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) for switching to a no vote Wednesday.