On Wednesday (July 27), Republican Senators blocked a bill that would expand healthcare services for military veterans exposed to toxins and burn pits during their service.
When brought to the Senate for a vote all Democrats voted for the Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act alongside eight Republicans, but despite their efforts — receiving 55 votes — they fell short of the 60-vote filibuster.
Three Senators did not vote.
Earlier in the month, the House passed the PACT Act. The Act would provide three million veterans with additional health coverage who had either been exposed to burn pits or served in Vietnam and were exposed to the deadly herbicide Agent Orange.
One Republican Senator who didn’t support the bill, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), said he hadn’t voted for the bill because it would create $400 billion in unrelated spending, calling this a “budgetary gimmick.”
Defending his actions, Toomey said, “My concern about this bill has nothing to do with the purpose of the bill.”
He added, “This budgetary gimmick is so unrelated to the actual veterans issue that has to do with burn pits that it’s not even in the House version of this bill.”
Although Toomey had urged his colleagues to rectify the issue before bringing it before the Senate floor, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) still had doubts about Toomey’s defense, accusing Toomey of “having a problem” with supporting veterans.
“If you have the guts to send somebody to war, then you better have the guts to take care of them when they get home,” Tester stated.