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174 Republicans voted AGAINST exanding veteran benefits

The above title was borrowed from a tweet of an organization called VoteVets, a progressive political action committee (PAC), whose purpose is to raise and spend money to elect veterans to office.

This tweet was in response to the 174 Republicans (roughly 82 percent of the House Republicans) who did not vote to pass House Bill 3967 on March 3, 2022.

Called the Honor Our PACT Act, PACT refers to Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics. This bill would expand eligibility for treatment and establish more presumptive conditions to burn pits and other toxic exposure.

Now why did the GOP oppose this bill? Honestly, it comes down to money. This bill is estimated to have a price tag of $300 billion over 10 years. A physician and military veteran, Republican Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks argued against the Republican Majority stating, “We are not doing right by our veterans by being fiscally irresponsible in their name.”

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R)

In response to the actions of the GOP, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “It’s a cost of war, for the Republicans to go to the floor and say that veterans really don’t want this help because it’s going to cost money, and they’re more concerned about the budget [than] they are about their health. Oh, really? You just gave tax cuts in 2017 to the richest people in America. Tax cuts for the rich, cancer for our veterans. That’s how we see this discussion.”

What is so frustrating is that veterans have been fighting this for years, and so why wouldn’t they want this kind of bill? What is so important with establishing more presumptive conditions is that it can increase a veteran’s total disability so that they can receive treatment.

Not many people realize this, but if a veteran’s total disability rating is below 50 percent, he or she can only receive treatment on what is connected to service.

So, if a veteran in this category develops a condition that may be connected to service, they cannot receive treatment until the Veteran Benefits Administration approves service connection. But sadly, this could take months and years, so if they develop cancer, they may pass before their claim is approved.

And if a veteran has a total rating above 50 percent, they can receive treatment on any medical condition despite the fact the condition may be service connection related or not. This allows veterans to receive the best treatment possible.

Now this bill is in the hands of our Senators, so for our veterans, call your Senators, tell them to co-sponsor and vote for this bill! President Joe Biden has already given his endorsement on this bill; we are just waiting on the Senate. So keep on them and don’t let up.

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