Welch continues push to help soldiers exposed to war zone burn pits

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 2:47 PM EST
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - Congressman Peter Welch continues his push to get medical and other benefits for soldiers exposed to war zone burn pits.

Welch on Monday joined some of those soldiers at an event at Josh’s House, a wellness and recreational center for vets in Colchester.

The PACT Act expands coverage for toxic exposure to as many as 3.5 million vets. It provides benefits to those suffering from about two dozen types of respiratory illnesses and cancers and forces the VA to concede that burn pits make soldiers sick.

Right now, many burn pit claims are denied by the VA. This bill creates the presumption they were exposed to dangerous toxins.

“Those of you who were in the vicinity of a burn pit are going to get the medical care automatically, you don’t have to approve it, you don’t have to go through all kinds of hassles, you don’t have to get a lawyer. You served us, and the cost of the war has to include the cost of caring for the warrior,” said Welch, D-Vermont.

The bill passed the U.S. House. The Senate passed similar though not as comprehensive legislation.

Welch thinks both chambers can work out the differences and the president will sign the final bill.

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