Lawmakers push to pass burn pit bill

ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) – Federal lawmakers are calling on the Senate to pass a bill that would help our servicemen and women, specifically those who were exposed to burn pits, and other toxins going all the way back to the Vietnam War.

This is an issue News10NBC has been tracking for years.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joe Morelle joined Monroe County Executive Adam Bello at the Monroe County Veteran Service Agency to push for this legislation that’s headed for the Senate Floor for a vote later this week.

Bello says veterans who served our nation during wartime in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were exposed to chemicals such as Agent Orange, or more recently toxins from burn pits. Both weapons and chemical waste were burned in these pits on bases located around the world.

Senator Gillibrand says it’s been proven that more than 3.5 million service members have been diagnosed with chronic respiratory issues and even brain cancer. She goes on to say that these very service members are often denied basic health care.

The Pact Act of 2022 would remove the unreasonable burden of proof that veterans must have to receive the care they need.

"No veteran should be having to get paperwork, and the proof and epidemiology just to get the basic services that they’ve earned from the VA."

Gillibrand says the coalition is making a major push to gain the 60 votes they need for the passage of this legislation.