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Senate passes bill to help veterans suffering from illnesses due to the toxins from burn pits

Congressman Raul Ruiz's PACT Act is on its way to the White House for Biden to sign into law

CALIFORNIA (KYMA, KECY) - The U.S. Senate passed Congressman Raul Ruiz's Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins (PACT) Act Tuesday.

Ruiz says Biden will be signing it into law Monday August 8th.

"Over 3 million veterans will be impacted, positively impacted," says Ruiz. "Their pain and suffering will be alleviated because now they will be able to access the health care due to those illnesses and exposure to burn pits and their widows and families will be taken care of."

According to Ruiz, the PACT Act will give presumptive benefits for over 20 illnesses for individuals who were exposed to toxic smokes and burn pits while in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

He says this is important because up until now, veterans were dying from cancers, respiratory illnesses and had to prove to the VA that their illnesses were due to the exposure to burn pits.

"And that was just simply unacceptable," says Ruiz. "In fact, I became aware of this when a local constituent Jennifer Kepner at her kitchen table told me about how her pancreatic cancer was due to her exposures to burn pits."

Ruiz says this is the most expansive access to veterans in generations.

When Biden signs the bill into law, veterans just need to show they served in the military, their place of deployment, then show which illness they have and the direct link for presumptive benefits due to those illness and exposure and their service will be covered.

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA News 11 team in 2021.

You can contact her with story ideas at vanessa.gongora@kecytv.com

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