|The biggest winner: Marco Rubio
August 7, 2022
|The biggest winner: Marco Rubio. Bipartisanship in Washington these days is about as rare as a Bigfoot sighting. But Rubio worked through some frustrating twists and turns and finally helped bring home the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act — aka the PACT Act.
And he worked with Democrats to accomplish that.
“We are finally doing what we should have done two decades ago,” Rubio said. “Once President (Joe) Biden signs this bill into law, our veterans will finally be able to access the care they desperately need and selflessly earned.”
The bill specifically addresses victims of toxins from burn pits used to destroy medical waste in combat areas. Thousands of soldiers who breathed in the pits’ fumes later developed various severe diseases.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rejects about 70% of disability claims stemming from burn pit exposure for lack of evidence and data from the Defense Department.
Rubio has been a champion for expanding health care benefits for veterans by removing red tape. He and Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced this bill in 2021 and enjoyed wide support from both major parties.
Despite a hiccup in late July that threatened its approval and led to a national crusade by comedian and veterans advocate Jon Stewart, the bill’s final version passed the Senate 86-11.