Burn pit bill named after Ohio veteran moves to Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – As the nation honored its war dead this past Memorial Day weekend, a push in Washington to help more veterans get treatment for exposure to toxic burning fireplaces is getting closer. from the finish line.

What do you want to know

  • A bill named after the late Ohio National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson advances to US Senate
  • Legislation would allow veterans to access VA care if they suffer from exposure to toxic combustion fireplaces
  • The U.S. military used burns in Iraq and Afghanistan to get rid of trash and human waste
  • Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and VA Secretary Denis McDonough told Spectrum News they hope the bill becomes law this year.

The historic legislation is named after the late Ohio veteran, Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson, an Ohio National Guardsman who died of lung cancer after being exposed to toxic fumes while serving in the Middle East.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated that more than 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to toxins from burning fireplaces while serving overseas since 9/11.

“They are committed to this country,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told Spectrum News. “We are committed to them that whatever their health issues are after they leave the service, we will take care of those health issues – us, the VAs. And we didn’t succeed with Agent Orange. We failed to achieve this goal with the burn pits. Finally, we do it right. It’s a bipartisan effort that will work.

Brown sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee and has worked for months to pass the PACT Act (SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics).

The legislation would make veterans eligible for VA care if they were exposed to toxins from military burning stoves after 9/11.

Robinson served in the Middle East in 2006 and 2007 and was later diagnosed with lung cancer after being exposed in the pits, where everything from garbage to human waste was burned at US military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the legislation becomes law, VA Secretary Denis McDonough told Spectrum News it will provide much-needed care to many veterans, but it will also flood the VA system with $4-5 million. requests for additional benefits.

“It will be a big challenge, which is why it is so important that Senator Moran and Senator Tester have included a series of provisions to help us pay our doctors more competitively,” McDonough said in an interview the week last. “To help us hire faster. To help us retain people once we have them.

The senses. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Jon Tester (D-Montana) lead the Veterans Affairs Committee.

They announced a groundbreaking bipartisan agreement on the bill earlier this month and hope the full Senate will address it soon.

If it can pass there and in the House, it will become law.