Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Senate’s continued progress towards once again passing the Honoring Our PACT Act, one of the biggest expansions of veterans’ health care in decades. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Last night, I filed cloture to prepare the Senate to once again pass the PACT Act, the largest and most important expansion of Veteran Health Care benefits in decades, another a bipartisan issue to the core.
As my colleagues already know, because of a technical error the House of Representatives was unable to take up our version of this bill that we passed in the spring. The House has now fixed their error and returned the PACT Act back to the Senate. We want to finish our work on the PACT Act before the end of the week.
Our nation’s veterans have waited long enough to get the benefits they need to treat complications from toxic exposure in the line of duty, so we have every reason in the world to get this bill done quickly with the same bipartisan support as the first time around.
The need for the PACT Act is beyond question: burn pits have affected up to three and a half million veterans since 9/11, yet the VA has rejected nearly 80% of all disability claims connected to burn pits. That is unacceptable and must change.
I hope members work together to fast track this bill as soon as possible, because there is no reason to delay a measure that the vast majority of senators—from both parties—agree is necessary.
Our Veterans, their families and our Veteran Service Organizations have been urging us to finish work on this bill. Let’s keep our promise to those valiant service members and send the PACT Act quickly to the President’s desk.