Oh The Irony! The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act Is Broken – Full Texts of PACT 1 and PACT 2

Oh The Irony! The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act Is Broken – Full Texts of PACT 1 and PACT 2

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.

Stats on US Veterans From World War II to Afghanistan

Stats on US Veterans From World War II to Afghanistan

Census Report on Veterans In America

The first veterans of the United States served during the American Revolution in the Continental
Army, created in 1775 when colonial militias formed a common army under command of George
Washington. Since then, the United States has declared war 11 times and fought in conflicts around
the world. More than 41 million Americans have served over the course of the nation’s history.

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Highlights

• The number of veterans in the United States declined by a third, from 26.4 million to 18.0 million between 2000 and 2018.
• There are fewer than 500,000 World War II veterans alive today, down from 5.7 million in 2000.
• Women make up a growing share of veterans.

Today, about 9 percent of veterans—or 1.7 million— are women. By 2040, that number is projected to
rise to 17 percent.

• The largest cohort of veterans alive today served during the Vietnam Era (6.4 million), which lasted
from 1964 to 1975. The second largest cohort of veterans served during peacetime only (4.0 million).
• The median age of veterans today is 65 years. By service period, Post-9/11 veterans are the youngest
with a median age of about 37, Vietnam Era veterans have a median age of about 71, and World
War II veterans are the oldest with a median age of about 93.

Insights from Veterans About The Report

Here are some recent comments from random Veterans.

2000 to 2018 the veteran population declined from 26.4 million to 18 million OR -31.8182% decline. So, one could argue that the VA has had a reduction of 31.8% of veterans it serves. However, 42% of post 9/11 veterans have a disability rating, significantly higher than veterans from other periods.

By 2040, it is projected there will be about 12.9 million veterans.

Women make up 9% of veterans, but that number is expected to increase to 17% by 2040.

Think the higher disability rating could be that the stigma of mental health is slowly deteriorating and more veterans are seeking help for it than previous generations?

Surprised to learn there are still almost half a million WW2 veterans alive today.

 

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.

Feeling suicidal or need to talk to a health care professional? Dial The Veteran’s Crisis Hotine 988.

Once A Soldier Funds First Ketamine-IV Drip Therapy

Once A Soldier Funds First Ketamine-IV Drip Therapy

 Finally, Effective Treatment for Suicidal Veterans & Their Families 

How long do PTSD Veterans and their families have to wait for psilocybin treatment to get going? While Congress idles with no answers, some Vets are going out of the country for this treatment. We can do better here at home and we are. Our answer to how long is “no longer.” Help is needed now as more and more Veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate above the civilian average.

Putting our money where our hearts are, Once A Soldier is defraying the costs of a full six sessions of Ketamine IV drip treatments. James Simpson and his wife Jennifer are both combat Veterans. It is our intent for James to defeat his PTSD with this grant. We know he will.

 

ketamin iv drip

Ketamine Clinics Are Already Functional Around the Nation

The initial call from James’ wife Jennifer spurred Once A Soldier to monetize their prevention efforts with this first-ever grant. Treatment will be at the Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness starting in February 2022. Private, out-of-pocket clinics like this are all over the country, and we have partnered with two here in Jacksonville during our service time. We wish the Simpson family the best and will update James’ progress in this blog.

Once A Soldier has always been a resource for Veteran suicide prevention and information. Our mission started as – and still is – postvention, but we have grown to offer prevention help for both Veteran and family, pre and postvention. Note our scholarships for Equine-Assisted Therapy for Veterans and their families here in north Florida, as well as our Transcendental Meditation scholarships which has been granted around the country now that COVID-19 has changed. Despite the apparent dichotomy, we have also championed other free and drug-free mental health treatments.

We are first, but we are not alone.

Back in 2021, a collection of the largest Veteran service organizations implored Congress to fast track the journey towards adding psilocybin to prevent Veteran suicide. Across America, renowned institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University run psychedelic research centers and medical groups. They see the future. With 20 Veteran suicides a day, and the reason they suicide, something advanced needs to be considered. And they are. Meanwhile, Once A Soldier has grant a modest amount to enable That is a big ask as some psilocybins currently sit in Category 1 with heroin. Ketamine is considered a Schedule 3 because it is so hard to make. However, r

There are US Veterans leaving the country to seek this type of medical treatment. Surely, we can find our way faster for their sake.

Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness owners

James Stephen Oleksa, MD Anesthesiology,Medical Director and Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, Virginia Beach, VA.

Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness owners

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Carolanne Garofalo and Tricia Lee are co-owners at Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Our Bill Outline For New Funeral Services Loan

Foot soldiers fightng for Veteran suicide postvention know that the strength of a Veteran family knows no bounds. Despite their sacrifice and paid-in-full status, paying the funeral expenses for an unexpected suicide is one challenge many can not meet. This bill outline is a critical step to fill this gap between the too-little, too-late Veterans’ Administration benefits and all or nothing standards of some funeral homes. Our local US Congressman John Rutherford, and his staff, continue to champion support needed for all American heroes. Their guidance will be critical to how far this bill can go.

magic mental health mushroom

Matt and Kristen Mahramus

You can see real love between these two. Matt left behind Kristen and their two children.

Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Fueled by PTSD, TBI, MST and more, Veteran suicides continue to rise. However, increased postvention support for the families has not. VA death benefits arrive too late and too many Veteran families can’t bury their Veterans with dignity. This modest guaranteed loan will meet that need and close this gap.

Veteran Family Postvention Issue

  • VA death benefits offer no specialized support for suicide’s aftermath
  • Suicide victims typically leave behind no life insurance or savings
  • VA benefits end and leave the families without breadwinners

Key Solutions

  • Congress must enact legislation to create program
  • Would provide up to $2,000 – $8,000 for post 9/11 Veteran suicide families
  • Would be paid directly to the funeral services providers

Reasons to Believe

  • Recent COVID-19 funeral relief via FEMA proves it is possible
  • This solves our most immediate Veteran suicide postvention failure
  • The program would be limited in reach and scope  
  • VA death benefits, if any, would be directly applied to the loan balance

For more information, contact

Dave Barbush dave@onceasolider.org

904477999

# # #

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Links for More Information:

 

Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

 Cremation Information

The cremation process and legal requirements for it vary state by state and city by city. Please check your local legal requirements to ensure the safe processing of your loved one.

There are different parts to the cremation process including transportation, storage, cremation itself, and the return of the remains. You have an opportunity to have a viewing prior to the cremation process, as well. You may also be able to witness the cremation.

To start, the body will be taken to the funeral home or straight to the crematory. Before the cremation occurs, the body will be stored and secured in cold storage.

Next up for the cremation process, you must select a container or casket in which to cremate your loved one.  Their body will be placed in the container and brought to the crematory.

Before the cremation, personal items (jewelry, watches, etc.) are removed from the container/casket and returned to you/the family. For safety reasons, many items are not allowed to be cremated with the body because not everything is combustible. These items could cause damage to the crematory or the operator.

urn for ashes

How Long Does It Take To Cremate a Body?

The cremation process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than two hours depending on the size of the body and how much heat has been stored in the cremator’s chamber. The cremation process occurs at 1600 degrees F. Once the cremation process is complete, the cremated remains are swept out of the cremator into a cooling tray and brought to a processor. The processor breaks down the bone fragments until they are 1/8” or smaller in size. The cremated remains are put into a plastic bag and placed into an urn or temporary container. Throughout this entire process, your loved one’s identification is checked numerous times. The cremated remains are placed with paperwork and stored until the family, comes to retrieve them.

Adult cremated remains weigh between four and six pounds.

Remains Transporting

If you plan to transport cremated remains, you may need different documents (death certificate, certificate of cremation, etc.) and the help of a funeral director to make this process possible.

If shipping cremated remains by United States Postal Service (USPS), you must use Priority Mail Express service and Priority Express Mail International.  USPS’ Label 139 indicating “Cremated Remains” is not required but it is encouraged to help USPS workers know this package should be handled with care.

Most airlines allow the transportation of cremated remains either as a carry-on, checked luggage or air cargo. Check with the airlines to learn their rules about transporting cremated remains; some airlines need notice if something needs to be placed in the air cargo. You must carry the death certificate, certificate of cremation and other documentation with you.

If transporting the cremated remains internationally, you will have to contact the Consulate(s) of the country you are taking the remains to or from. You will find the forms and authorizations required. Your funeral director will likely have to complete many of the forms. This process can take a few weeks.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.