April 28, 2022

Rubio Urges Senate to Take Up Legislation Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits, Water Contamination

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

By Lydia Nusbaum

April 28, 2022 Updated 2:43 P.M. ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FLV) – Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio urged the Senate to pass legislation that would help veterans receive care, especially those who were exposed to toxic burn pits and water contamination. 

Rubio said Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, announced the Senate will consider the bill this year to provide a presumption of service connection for veterans who were exposed to these burn pits and are ill. 

“I am encouraged the Senate will finally consider legislation with presumptive benefits for our veterans,” Rubio said. “It is horrific that veterans are suffering from debilitating illnesses and dying because they cannot get the care they earned. No more baby steps. No more half measures. No more excuses. We need to get this done, now.”

Approximately 3.5 million veterans were exposed to burn pits and other airborne hazards. The Senate will consider the Honoring our PACT Act to establish a presumption of service connection for 23 conditions. Veterans were exposed to these toxic chemicals at bases where they handled military waste.

The legislation would also provide judicial relief to those suffering due to water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Rep. Greg Murphy, R-NC , said the legislation “eliminates burdensome red tape to ensure that those exposed to toxic chemicals, including servicemembers, Marine dependents, civil servants, and contractors, can receive their day in court.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has denied about 75 percent of veterans’ burn pit claims because it is difficult to prove an illness is connected to that exposure, according to online reports

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