In Texas, Biden Says New Legislation Could Expand Benefits for Burn Pit Victims

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday called for a broad expansion of medical benefits for veterans

Especially for those who fell ill after inhaling toxic materials from incinerators. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the exposure he believes contributed to cancer. From which his eldest son died. , Bo. For Mr. Biden, the issue is personal and political: Last week, in his State of the Union address, he said he would push for more veterans’ benefits as part of a domestic agenda. That the White House has rethought to emphasize bipartisan civility after a setback. Win the passage of a more extensive social safety net plan last year.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden took a brief break from the raging war in Europe. And traveled with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough to a clinic near Fort Worth. There, the President met with veterans who suffered spinal injuries and began coughing up the black matter. After serving near the pits, as military garbage disposal fires are known.

Speaking to veterans and lawmakers, Mr. Biden said it took years for researchers and lawmakers. To better understand the harmful effects of “Agent Orange,” a defoliant used during the Vietnam War. He likened the situation to what he believed was a backlog in studying. The effects of toxins inhaled by military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and burned garbage and other waste. Burning pits are usually filled with debris such as medical waste and vehicles. Which are then doused with jet fuel and incinerated. Mr. Biden noted that he was a senator to support research into the impact of Agent Orange, and he said young veterans who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, often more than once, deserve the same level of support.

“The people who will bear the brunt of the lackluster performance of House

Democrats today are ordinary Americans who need Congress just to get the job done,” she said in a statement last week after the bill passed the House. Representatives. Both proponents and opponents of the law agree that more research is needed to determine if post-service illnesses in veterans could be linked to burning pits. In the past, the Department of Veterans Affairs has stated that there was little evidence that burn pits contributed to veterans’ illness and continues to advise that many symptoms resolve when exposure is stopped.

But the agency also says researchers are “actively investigating airborne hazards such as incinerators and other military environmental exposures.” according to an agency web page on this topic. Last week, the department announced that it would seek to add nine rare respiratory cancers to the list of service-related disabilities caused by exposure to toxic chemicals in burn pits. Mr. Biden acknowledged that more research is needed on the link between burn pits and later illnesses, but he said he wants the department to support veterans in the meantime. “When the evidence doesn’t provide a clear answer one way or another, the solution we need to support is caring for our veterans as we continue to learn more,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not waiting; I’m not waiting.”

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