Full Versions PACT Act 1 & 2

August 5, 2022 
Updated on August 5, 2022 at 8:12 AM EDT

“Burn Pit” Bill passed on an 86-11 vote on August 2, 2022.

Original Post:
Here is the original Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxins (PACT) version full text: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3967/text

Revised Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxins (PACT) version full text: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/3373/text

If you’ve never read a Congressional bill before, they are massively detailed documents. See the final version of the vote for yourself for what is officially called the Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act.

Republican Senators voted NO to help save the lives of our Veterans exposed to deadly toxins created by burn pit exposure. We have a post on why they did that here. This is a bill sponsored by Kansas Republican Senator Moran, the same Senator who co-authored the SSG Fox Veteran Suicide bill that passed in 2019.

When you compare the two document, the only change made relates to a tax status for the hundreds of private practice health care providers who would have cared for the Vets. Here’s the difference:

 “(e) NOT A TAXABLE BENEFIT.—A contract buy out for a covered health care professional under subsection (a) shall not be considered a taxable benefit or event for the covered health care professional.” 

That’s it! This was a tax exemption clarification that only affects the many private practice facilities that are required to render care to the huge number of Vets in need. Wait. Perhaps the tax breaks are what the Republicans’ flip-flopped on, but talking points in the days after centered around a $400 billion number. It was not pork. That is the price tag for the PACT. That money is hard-coded to pay for the program, period.

Of course, the human tragedy Veterans and their families face goes on in the meantime. As a nation, we need a discussion centered about Veterans. Once A Soldier is preparing to advocate for a Veterans Administration Czar who can rebuild that mess.

What Is a Burn Pit?

A burn pit is an area devoted to open-air combustion of trash. The use of burn pits was a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Smoke from these pits contained substances that may have short- and long-term health effects, especially for those who were exposed for long periods or those more
prone to illness such as individuals with pre-existing asthma or other lung or heart conditions.

Waste products in burn pits include, but are not limited to: chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, metal/aluminum cans, munitions and other unexploded ordnance, petroleum and lubricant products, plastics and Styrofoam, rubber, wood, and discarded food. Burning waste in pits can create more hazards compared to controlled high-temperature burning—like in a commercial incinerator.

The VA fact sheet on burn pits says veteran burn pit exposures to high levels of specific, individual chemicals that may be present in burn pit smoke have been shown to cause long-term effects, in some cases, on: skin, respiratory system, eyes, liver, kidneys, central nervous system, reproductive system, cardiovascular system, peripheral nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract.

The IOM study  – supplied by this group – found these health effects associated with five or more chemicals it detected at Joint Base Balad in Iraq:

  • Neurologic effects and reduced central nervous system function
  • Liver toxicity and reduced liver function
  • Cancer (stomach, respiratory, and skin cancer; leukemia; and others)
  • Respiratory toxicity and morbidity
  • Kidney toxicity and reduced kidney function
  • Blood effects (anemia and changes in various cell types)
  • Cardiovascular toxicity and morbidity, and
  • Reproductive and developmental toxicity.

Here’s the roll call vote from yesterday. The one Democrat NO vote was cast by House Leader Chuck Schumer. The reason for that was so that he could recall the vote for a later day if something exactly like this happened.

About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.