Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement on the recently announced Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, which the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will consider on Wednesday, February 2. In its current form, the bill fails to remove critical hurdles that prevent veterans from receiving life-saving care.
Specifically, the bill fails to provide a presumption of service connection for key ailments afflicting many veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits in the line of duty. Even if the bill were to become law, the burden would still be on veterans to prove their illness is a direct result of their deployment to receive critical benefits.
By contrast, Rubio’s Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act (S. 952), which he introduced last year with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representatives Raul Ruiz, M.D (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would streamline the process for veterans to obtain VA benefits for injuries from burn pits and other toxic exposures by removing that burden of proof.
“Veterans who are suffering from debilitating illnesses and dying because they cannot get care deserve better than half measures,” Rubio said. “We can’t trust the VA bureaucracy to get this right and we don’t need any more excuses. What we need to do is pass a bill with presumptive benefits.”
Last April, Rubio joined Gillibrand, Ruiz, Fitzpatrick, veterans advocate Jon Stewart, 9/11 responder and advocate John Feal, and a large group of veterans at a press conference to announce the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act.
- September 14, 2021: ICYMI: Rubio-Gillibrand: Time to Act on Toxic Burn Pits
- April 13, 2021: ICYMI: Rubio Delivers Bilingual Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Landmark Burn Pits Legislation to Help Veterans
- March 26, 2021: Rubio, Gillibrand Introduce Landmark Burn Pits Legislation to Help Veterans