Congress reaches deal on expanding burn pit benefits to vets

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A bipartisan deal in Congress would expand benefits and resources for veterans who were around burn pits during their service.

The agreement paves the way for passage of a bill that has become the top priority of veterans’ groups seeking to help the increasing number of people with illnesses that they believe are related to toxic exposure.

Millions of veterans have been exposed to the toxic smoke from the pits in Iraq and Afghanistan that were used to incinerate everything from trash and medical waste, to tires and chemicals, and led to serious health problems among many service members, including Vermonters.

“I’ve worked closely with advocates like VSOs and Jon Stewart and John Field to get the Senate to act on this long-neglected problem. I’m happy to see that burn pit legislation has taken an important step closer to passage,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

President Joe Biden has championed the legislation, saying the burn pits may have caused the brain cancer that killed his son, Beau, an Iraq veteran.

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