Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Greg Kelly Reports on Newsmax to discuss his bipartisan legislation to help veterans suffering from exposure to burn pits and President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
On his legislation to help veterans suffering from exposure to burn pits:
“Well there’s a couple of points. Number one is if you think about it these people… we send them overseas, put them in danger, and they’re in these areas where the way they got rid of garbage and so forth is they burned it, and they burned it using jet fuel. And you have a lot of these young veterans returning home and have these very rare cancers that develop among a significant number of them, and their families are wiped out by it. And so, frankly, it’s impossible... to be able to prove a direct linkage between those burn pits and that cancer. But by the time you can prove it, if you could, it’s probably too late and folks have gone bankrupt. Many have passed away, and their families are left destitute.
“So here’s the way I view it. There has to…and this is what the bill says… the bill says there’s a presumption that if you served overseas in uniform near one of these burn pits for a substantial period of time and you develop one of these rare cancers that you don’t typically see in the population, there is a presumption that it was caused by that. And the way I view it is twofold. Number one is we put people in harm’s way, and we have an obligation to take care of them. Number two is at worst... we actually provide health care for people who served our country in uniform overseas in the danger zone. This is not for people that served anywhere; it’s for people who serve in these very dangerous zones.
“So I don’t know how at the end of the day providing health care for veterans that have come back after serving our country could possibly be a bad outcome.”
On President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan:
“The Trump Administration had reached this agreement to withdraw by May 1st. So their decision was whether to continue with that or not. But once that decision was made and inherited by the new Administration, now the question is number one how do we do it in a way that is safe for our men and women who are still stationed there. And second what we really need to keep an eye on at this point is… okay we’re not going to be in Afghanistan. There’s a high likelihood, and I hope I’m wrong about this, but there is a very high likelihood that the Taliban retakes that country almost entirely or partially. And once they do, Al Qaeda is going to return and establish a safe haven there. And we know what happened last time they had a safe haven there in Afghanistan.
“So if we’re not going to be there on the ground with troops -- that’s now coming to an end -- we need to have a plan for how we’re going to sustain pressure on Al Qaeda so they can’t reform, come back together, and then all of the sudden three or four years from now, we’re facing new threats here in the homeland and other parts of the world. So that really needs to be our focus now, and the decision to leave was made under the Trump administration. Now we just have to make sure that we do what we can so Al Qaeda can’t reconstitute and come after us like they did on September 11th of 2001.”