A bill that would expand benefits for veterans suffering from toxic exposure will likely move forward in the Senate after both Republicans and Democrats managed to arrive at a compromise on Tuesday.
Last week, the said bill came up to the vote, in which Republican Senators blocked it from pushing through due to a budgetary inclusion that they opposed.
The Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act – or PACT – will transfer $400 billion from discretionary spending to mandatory spending. This would essentially give Democrats $400 billion more under the discretionary spending category, letting them use it on whatever they want. This gimmicky budgetary inclusion is what Republicans opposed during last week’s vote.
Democrats alleged that the Republicans caused the bill’s failure, alleging that the latter did not care about U.S. Veterans. This claim caused progressive veterans and veterans groups to react angrily.
According to some Democrats, Republicans shot down the bill as a form of retaliation against Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) bringing back a trimmed version of the Democrats’ Build Back Better bill, which is now known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
Meanwhile, Republicans denied a connection between the Inflation Reduction Act and their decision to vote against PACT. However, Democrats maintained to use the confusion regarding the bill’s details and the party’s opposition to their advantage in the past few days, especially since a group of veterans camped just outside the Capitol, blaming the GOP for shooting it down.
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) stated that this was “a very old Washington trick playing out on what might be an unprecedented scale.”
Toomey had brought forth an amendment that would ensure that the money allocated in the bill would only be given to veterans and not to another unrelated “spending spree.”
The compromise between the two parties allowed Toomey’s amendment to be considered on the Senate floor.