CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The United States Senate is blocking a bipartisan bill aimed to expand military veteran benefits to include those exposed to toxins from burn pits.
The organization Burn Pits 360 is based in Robstown, Texas. The group traveled to Washington D.C. this week to voice their frustration towards the senators that voted against adding the benefits.
Rosie Lopez-Torres, Co-founder of Burn Pits 360, had strong words for the 25 senators that voted against the pact act, better known as the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act and passed the house of representatives earlier this year.
After the senate initially voted 84-to-14 in favor of the legislation in June, Torres said one senator is leading an effort to undo the progress they've made.
"Veterans were not trained to give up, they were trained to fight. We will mobilize our veteran community and we will mobilize America," Torres said.
Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania on Twitter, calling the PACT Act, a "gimmick." Saying it "allows $400 billion in spending completely unrelated to veterans care."
Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said she is in full support of what Rosie and Le Roy have been doing since the beginning.
"I think that Rosie and Le Roy Torres are heroes," Canales said. "Primarily for the awareness that they've created but more importantly for their opportunity to seek the right to get this legislation passed."
Canales said the legislation will help declare exposure to toxic chemicals while abroad an eligible benefit for veterans struggling to pay related medical bills.
"I pray that Congress will make the right decisions to make certain that veterans who fought for us and particularly defended our freedom will have the benefits that they deserve," Canales said.
Torres did not hold back as she addressed Toomey directly.
"Senator Toomey, how many veterans are going to die without their treatment because of you and other senators who voted no? Please explain to us what is an acceptable amount of death," Canales said.
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