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Senate passes burn pits legislation after partisan imbroglio

The Senate Tuesday passed by a vote of 86-11 a bill providing aid to military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during their service, after the two parties agreed to a series of amendment votes.

The Senate attempted to advance the legislation, called the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, last week. But Republicans, who previously supported the bill, largely opposed it, alleging that the spending lacked proper guardrails. 

VETERAN BURN PIT BILL HEADED FOR ANOTHER VOTE IN THE SENATE AMID PARTISAN TURMOIL

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., demanded a vote on an amendment to rectify those concerns, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., granted Tuesday. 

Schumer also granted votes on two other GOP amendments. A vote on final passage is expected following those three amendment votes. 

JON STEWARD SAYS VETERANS BURN PITS BILL ‘HAS TO GET DONE’ 

“Two months ago, the Senate overwhelmingly passed this bill that secured the largest health care benefit expansion for our veterans in decades,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “We are dealing by and large with that exact bill again, so there is no justification to delay swift passage of the PACT Act any longer.”

Democrats and advocates, including comedian Jon Stewart, have slammed Republicans for delaying the passage of the bill. But Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed the contretemps as standard fare for the Senate in a press conference Tuesday. 

“These kinds of back and forth happen all the time in the legislative process,” he said. “I think in the end, the veterans’ service organizations will be pleased with the final product.”

Fox News’ Kelly Laco contributed to this report. 

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