WASHINGTON From the outside, retired Air Force staff sergeant Jen Burch, 35, appears to be in good physical shape. However, she claims that on the inside, she is afflicted with illnesses that she believes are caused by her participation in the Afghanistan War more than ten years ago.
Burch and her fellow military members in Kandahar were exposed to poop ponds, fire pits, and incinerators, she claimed. She had bronchitis and pneumonia when she left. She has struggled with severe migraine headaches, shortness of breath whenever she climbs a flight of stairs, and frequent trips to the emergency room throughout the years.
I truly tried to terminate my life because I was unable to cope any longer. At a rally held outside the US Capitol on Monday, Burch stated, “I just go wild in my head.”
Burch, a resident of Washington, joined dozens of other veterans in opposing Republicans’ obstruction of a bill that would have offered veterans exposed to toxic substances and so-called burn pits crucial benefits.
The veterans spent the entire weekend camping out on the steps outside the Senate, enduring the heat, humidity, and sporadic thunderstorms while sleeping on the rough concrete steps. Burch stated that she too wanted to camp there but was experiencing excruciating agony.
After struggling for days to justify why they are blocking legislation that would provide much-needed health care for millions of veterans exposed to things like burn pit smoke, Agent Orange, and radiation, the protest by 60 veterans groups and comedian Jon Stewart has put Senate Republicans on the defensive.
At times, legislators and authorities joined the demonstrators to encourage the Senate to enact the PACT Act, including Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. Following yet another positive Covid test, President Joe Biden decided to reach out to the veterans through videoconference.
In an interview, Burch stated: “If there is one group that won’t give up, it’s us.” We’ve faced more difficult challenges. Bloodshed has occurred. We are overcoming a challenge by refusing to give up.
as they narrated their tales Veterans carried signs on Monday saying, “Senators are lying while vets are dying.” Pass the #PACTAct to end the use of burn pits. PACT Act postponement kills. Republicans killed and delayed veterans of war.
Another poster included the names of every Republican who had voted with Democrats to support the PACT Act in June but had since changed their minds and filibustered the legislation last week: 25 Republicans are sabotaging the PACT Act and veterans. (The Senate must pass the bill once more because the House made a small technical adjustment.)
It passed 84 to 14 as far as I can tell, and then 25 Republicans changed their vote. Stewart told NBC News in front of the Capitol, “So to me, that’s the problem.” Without explaining the switch or indicating the bill with the added item, it was switched. Without indicating the location of the pork in the bill, the switch was made. They just keep going; it’s a financial ploy.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who has claimed that he is concerned that some of the $280 billion in expenditure over 10 years would be used for other Democratic goals, has drawn particular ire from Stewart. Democrats and veterans’ organizations have refuted the claim and charged that the GOP is obstructing the legislation in retribution for the significant climate and economic agreement Democrats reached last week.
On CNN on Sunday, Toomey made the claim that Democrats were exploiting the veterans as political pawns. He also made fun of Stewart, the former host of The Daily Show, by dubbing him a “pseudo-celebrity.” Toomey is requesting a vote on his proposal, which would impose additional restrictions on how the funds will be used.
According to Toomey, this is Washington’s oldest scam. People will take a sympathetic group of Americans, such as sick children, crime victims, or veterans exposed to toxic chemicals, and draft a bill to address their issues. They will then sneak in something completely unrelated that they know could never pass on its own and dare Republicans to take action because they know they will unleash their media allies and possibly a fake celebrity to fabricate false allegations to undermine the bill. This is what is taking place.
When asked if Toomey’s description of him as a “pseudo-celebrity” had angered him, Stewart responded, “That’s the one thing I’ve agreed with during this whole process.”
The PACT Act could return to the Senate floor as early as Tuesday, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who believes that veterans shouldn’t have to engage in a second war at home in order to receive the medical benefits they are entitled to. Republicans are hinting that they will be on board this time in the face of intense pressure from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project, and other organizations.
Yes, it will pass this week, declared Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, on Monday.
In a statement at the protest on Monday, Don Eggert, a 56-year-old Iraq War veteran from Madison, Wisconsin, singled out Republican senator Ron Johnson from his home state.
In an interview, Eggert claimed that “he has this type of duplicity regarding soldiers.” He will proclaim his support for veterans and his respect for their service, but when it comes to the budget, he fails to stand by us.
He said that Republicans “should back down today.”
James Powers, a 37-year-old Iraq war veteran from Canton, Ohio, claims he attempted to meet Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, last week but was refused. He was able to meet with Portman’s team in Washington, but after he allegedly used profanity, the discussion turned into a heated argument.
Powers, who was subjected to burn pits in Iraq, told his fellow demonstrators, “We’re not leaving until this bill passes. Veterans are currently present, battling through the emotional and physical suffering they have experienced as a result of this.
One of those demonstrating support for the veterans at the Capitol on Monday was Afghanistan War veteran Wes Moore, who is the Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland.
“Over 6,000 residents of Maryland are included on the burn pit registry, making this a highly personal matter for residents of the state. The fact that I am a combat veteran makes it much more personal, said Moore, a retired Air Force captain, to NBC News.
“So it’s critical that every American step up and make our voices known and make sure that those promises are being maintained,” says the president, “when we come and we see those promises not being kept.”