U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R) and Jim Risch (R) responded to criticism they faced for voting against the PACT Act, also known as the “burn pit bill.”
The bill’s primary purpose is to help veterans who suffer from various medical issues from burn pits and other toxic substances. Additionally, the bill also added approximately $400 billion in additional spending. The additional spending is what Crapo and Risch said they opposed.
Crapo called the additional $400 billion added by the Democrats as a “slush fund,” stating,
As an ardent supporter of America’s veterans, I am committed to ensuring health and disability benefits are provided to veterans exposed to toxic substances while on their tours of duty. This Congress, I have led or co-sponsored four bills included in this package to address burn pit injuries and illness:
1. S. 1393, the Toxic Exposure Training Act, co-lead sponsor;
2. S. 927, the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act, co-sponsor;Advertisement
3. S. 565, the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act, co-sponsor; and
4. S. 657, the Presumption of Service Connection for Thailand Veterans, co-sponsor.
These important bills had broad bipartisan support and probably could have passed the Senate without opposition, but instead Democrats created a nearly $400 billion slush fund for additional unrestrained spending.Advertisement
I have a strong record of supporting veterans to ensure they have access to high-quality health care, opportunities to thrive following their transition from the military and protecting their Second Amendment rights. I, too, remain committed to Idaho veterans impacted by burn pits and toxic exposure and will continue to support bipartisan legislation that can withstand necessary fiscal standards to ensure solvency and endurance, not additional slush fund spending placed on the American people.
A spokesman for Risch’s office told Idaho Dispatch that he also opposed the additional $400 billion added by Democrat senators.
Risch’s spokesman told Idaho Dispatch,
As a strong supporter of veterans and cosponsor of legislation included in the PACT Act, Senator Risch wanted to get to ‘yes’ on this bill. Unfortunately, Democrats wrote in a $400 billion hole in the discretionary budget they can fill with spending totally unrelated to veterans. It is inappropriate to use a bill for veterans as a backdoor to usher in huge sums of unrelated spending.
Other Republican senators gave similar criticisms as Risch and Crapo, while some said that this wasn’t the bill to oppose, even with the additional spending added to it.
The bill ultimately passed the Senate by a vote of 86-11.
Crapo’s Democrat challenger in the race, David Roth, posted on Twitter,
For the third straight time @MikeCrapo has voted to let military veterans needlessly suffer and die without treatment for service related injuries. He has obviously lost his way. Let’s help him find his way to retirement. #REPASSTHEPACTACT
Roth also shared a Tweet from an individual named Phyllis McCormick, a retired school teacher who blasted the senators, saying,
Hey Risch and Crapo, Idaho veterans, their families, and their supporters will never forget your “no” vote on the PACT Act. Loathsome, abhorrent, odious, despicable, abominable, repugnant, and detestable you!
The bill is now headed to President Joe Biden’s desk, where he is expected to sign the legislation into law.
Do you agree with Risch and Crapo’s vote? Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: Burn Bill, David Roth, Democrat, Jim Risch, Joe Biden, Mike Crapo, PACT Act, Republican