On Wednesday, Senate Republicans successfully stalled the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act which aims to help provide better healthcare and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals and burn pits.
Despite overwhelming support from House Republicans in a 342-88 vote last week, 41 Senate Republicans decided to vote against the act, stalling its procession to President Joe Biden’s desk.
Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn, who have always claimed to be longtime military supporters, voted against the bill.
A controversial video by Meidas Touch showed Cruz fist bumping Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines, celebrating stalling the bill’s passage.
The republican votes angered Democrats, veteran advocates, and comedian Jon Stewart, a proponent of the bill.
For context, the bill changes how the Department of Veteran Affairs assesses health trends in veterans. More specifically, according to the bill, the act presumes veterans were exposed to certain substances, chemicals, and airborne hazards during service.
Notably, in a 2020 United States Veteran Affairs study, veterans surveyed highlighted their health as their key concern in life after service.
In response to the stalled bill, veterans from the non-profit organization BurnPits360 are protesting on the Capitol steps to pressure Republicans.
Democratic Texas Land Commissioner nominee Jay Kleberg, running for a position that works on veterans affairs, told the Signal about his time in D.C. and why this Act is important for Texas veterans.
“I was proud to stand with a host of Veterans’ organizations in our nation’s Capital to encourage the Senate to pass the Honoring Our PACT Act,” Kleberg told the Signal. “The men and women who defended our nation deserve better than political games and partisan politics.”
Moreover, Kleberg also emphasized how veterans are being hurt the most by the Texas Senators’ vote.
“By voting against cloture on this legislation, our Senators are turning their backs on our veterans and denying them the care they need to survive,” Kleberg told the Signal. “There are 1.5 million Veterans in Texas, and we have the most Veterans on the national burn pit registry–our Veterans had our back; it’s time for us to have theirs.”
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.