Mast, Ryan File Bill To Address Toxic Burn Pits

Mast, Ryan File Bill To Address Toxic Burn Pits

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
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April 16, 2021

Florida Rep. Brian Mast (R) teamed up with Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D) to introduce the SFC Heath Robinson Burn Pit Transparency Act, a bipartisan measure that requires “the Department of Veteran Affairs to document, track and notify Congress of all cases of burn pit exposure reported by veterans to the VA” according to a press release.

Initially, Rep. Mast and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) had introduced the Burn Pits Accountability Act in 2019, and this new bill builds upon the work of the 2019 bill.

In a statement, Rep. Mast discussed the need for this bill, commenting that “when I was serving in Afghanistan, trash and human waste were often burned in open-air pits,” adding that this is “emerging as the Agent Orange of my generation.” He added that “service members that were exposed in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeing horrible health effects and are dying as a result.” “We’ve made progress, but much more must be done, which is why we need this bill to track exposure... so exposed veterans can get the care they need,” he concluded.

The bipartisan legislation will "enable family members to add veterans to the Burn Pit Registry after his or her death." It will "require the VA to document a veteran who may have been exposed to burn pits and notify Congress of these cases." The VA will have "to submit a biannual report to Congress identifying how many veterans complain of burn pit exposure," notifying how many veterans "make disability claims and what the outcome of those claims are" along with providing "a comprehensive list of conditions burn pit exposed veterans have, and the location of burn pits." Finally, it will "require healthcare providers to inform a veteran who mentions 'burn pits' about the existing... Registry so they have knowledge of the Registry and can register themselves."

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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