Fourteen Republican Senators on Thursday voted against a proposed bill that would expand health care for veterans of the U.S. military.
The U.S. Senate passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 in a bipartisan effort to address health care, research, resources and more for veterans exposed to toxic substances during military service. All Democrats voted for the bill.
Republican Senators Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Steve Daines of Montana did not vote. The bill now heads to the House before going in front of President Joe Biden. A spokesman for Daines told Newsweek he was not present to vote due to the catastrophic floods in Montana and assessing in-state damage with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The bill provides mental health services, counseling and other forms of medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans eligible for such care include those who “participated in a toxic exposure risk activity,” which is designated as a required “qualifying activity” as part of an exposure tracking record system. Other veterans made eligible include this who served in “specified locations on specified dates,” or were deployed in support of a specified contingency operation.”
Heath Robinson was an Ohio National Guard soldier who was deployed to Kosovo and Iraq and died in 2020. His family has spoken out about what Robinson experienced, including developing stage-four lung cancer likely caused by prolonged toxic exposure, according to an oncologist.
The Senate Republicans who voted against the bill include:
Richard Burr (NC)
Mike Crapo (ID)
James Lankford (OK)
Mike Lee (UT)
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Rand Paul (KY)
James Risch (ID)
Mitt Romney (UT)
Mike Rounds (SD)
Richard Shelby (AL)
John Thune (SD)
Tom Tillis (NC)
Pat Toomey (PA)
Tommy Tuberville (AL)
I’ll be really interested to see what military leader(s) the Republicans have speaking at their next convention, telling the American voter how Republicans are the champion of veterans.