Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds found their way back to G.I. Jesus yesterday. After voting twice this summer against the PACT Act to expand health care benefits to veterans poisoned by burn pits and other toxic hazards while defending the United States, South Dakota’s spineless Senate duo joined every Democratic Senator and most of their Republican colleagues in finally passing this veterans’ health measure and sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk:
The U.S. Senate, in a bipartisan 86-11 vote, approved a measure to provide health care and benefits for millions of veterans injured by exposure to toxins, from Agent Orange in Vietnam to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Known as the PACT Act, the bill no longer would force generations of veterans to prove that their illness was caused by toxic exposures suffered in the military in order to get VA coverage. It had been hailed as the largest expansion of care in VA history, and was expected to cost $280 billion over a decade [vote link added; staff, “The Senate Passes Help for Veterans Exposed to Toxins, After a Reversal Drew Fury,” NPR, 2022.08.02].
But $280 billion in new spending? Good heavens, imagine all the inflation that will inevitably result….