SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Only 11 U.S. Senators voted against a bill to help veterans who have suffered from toxic exposure and two of those Senators are from Utah.
“I’m at a loss as to why they would vote against it,” said Terry Schow, a veteran’s advocate in Utah.
Both Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Mike Lee voted no on the Honoring Our Pact Act, which garnered increased attention after former “Daily Show” host John Stewart eviscerated those opposed to the legislation.
The bill will help millions exposed to burn pits after 9/11 with health care needs.
The $280 billion package would no longer force veterans to prove that their illness was caused by toxic exposures suffered in the military in order to get V.A. coverage.
The House passed the bill in July, but it stalled in the Senate after several Republicans demanded an amendment be added to ensure that the money in the package couldn’t be spent on unrelated programs.
Senator Romney’s office didn’t respond to ABC4’s requests for comment on Wednesday, but Senator Lee’s office sent this:
Congress has established a system of honoring and recognizing the sacrifices of our veterans by providing them with care and compensation for injuries sustained in service to our nation. Sen. Lee offered an amendment to protect those veterans entitled to care by preventing resources from being diverted away from them. Without that amendment, taxpayers and countless service members can be wrongfully shortchanged.
**For reference, see support for this amendment by the National Taxpayer Union here: https://www.ntu.org/publications/detail/the-senate-should-vote-yes-on-sen-lees-amendment-to-the-honoring-our-pact-act