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The Senate voted Tuesday night to pass the PACT Act after 30 GOP Senators switched their vote following a contentious week.
In a show of bipartisan support the PACT Act passed with a final vote of 86-11, despite the legislation being unchanged after Senate Republicans voted against it last week.
The PACT Act will expand medical coverage for millions of veterans who’ve been exposed to toxins such as Agent Orange in Vietnam to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bill was easily passed in the Senate back in June with an 84-14 vote before being sent to the House. It saw minor changes in the House before being sent back to the Senate last week for a hopeful final vote. The bill was then held up as 25 additional Senate Republicans voted “no” in a shocking move.
PACT Act passes despite Republican flip-flopping
Many viewed the “no” votes from Republican Senators as a politically motivated move to get back at Democrats for reaching an agreement for a separate reconciliation bill.
Many veterans were present in the Senate gallery to watch the final vote after spending days on Capitol Hill advocating for the bill.
Comedian Jon Stewart has been with veterans all week appearing on Fox News and other major networks fighting for the bill’s passage.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that a deal was reached with Republicans to pass the bill Tuesday night.
“I have some good news, the minority leader and I have come to an agreement to vote on the PACT Act this evening,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “I’m very optimistic that this bill will pass so our veterans across America can breathe a sigh of relief.”
The bill will now head to President Biden’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law.