Washington, D.C. — Today, in a passionate speech on the U.S. Senate floor, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff demanded the Senate deliver America’s veterans the care they’ve earned.
Sen. Ossoff has championed efforts in the U.S. Senate to pass the Honoring Our PACT Act to expand VA health care for veterans with health conditions related to exposure to burn pits and other toxins.
“When we send Americans to war, caring for them when they return is not a favor. It’s not a good deed. It’s not a choice. It’s a sacred obligation of the U.S. government,” Sen. Ossoff said in his speech. “We have a sacred obligation to pass this legislation to ensure that those who served in those conflicts — and anywhere around the world in service to the United States — suffering from the effects of exposure to toxins gets the care they need through the VA.”
The U.S. Senate today voted overwhelmingly to advance the bill forward, putting it one step closer to final passage.
Please find a transcript below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “Madam President, I rise today to urge my colleagues, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, to seize this opportunity that we have to pass bipartisan legislation to look out for the veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering the terrible consequences of exposure to burn pits, toxic fumes and toxic waste.
“Madam President, when we send Americans to war, caring for them when they return is not a favor. It’s not a good deed. It’s not a choice. It’s a sacred obligation of the U.S. government.
“And I would observe, Madam President, that many of the same senators who voted to send our forces into harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan are still serving in this body today.
“We have a sacred obligation to pass this legislation to ensure that those who served in those conflicts and anywhere around the world in service to the United States suffering from the effects of exposure to toxins, gets the care they need through the VA.
“This is about folks like Colonel David McCracken, of Tyrone, Georgia, an Army Reservist deployed in defense of our country after 9/11. Colonel McCracken made it home from those deployments. He served his country; he did his duty with valor and bravery, but at the age of 45, when otherwise healthy, Colonel McCracken was diagnosed with brain cancer; a rare occurrence at his age. And 11 months later, he was dead, taken from a wife and three children.
“This is about folks like Army Sergeant Jeff Danovich, who fought in Mosul in 2004. Where he lived just 100 yards from a burn pit. Like Colonel McCracken, Sergeant Danovich did his duty, he served in combat. He came home to his family. But just two years ago, Sergeant Danovich was diagnosed with leukemia. And when he filed for disability with the VA, because of his exposure to burn pits, his claim was denied.
“Let me just state again that when this government sends its forces into harm’s way, caring for them when they return is not a good deed. We don’t get extra credit for doing this. It’s not a favor. It’s our job.
“And let me remind my colleagues once again that many of you in this body voted to send these men and women into combat.
“So Senator Tester and Senator Moran have presented us with a bipartisan bill to do what’s right and look after the veterans who did their jobs for us when we sent them to do those jobs.
“Let’s do our jobs for them and pass this legislation, and I yield the floor.”
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