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Moran Urges Senate Wednesday To Reconsider PACT Act For Vets; Marshall Among ‘No’ Votes


Updated: Friday, 12:21 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran took the Senate floor Thursday to urge the chamber to pass a bill that would provide treatment for military veterans who’ve been exposed to toxic burn pits.

Wednesday, a procedural vote to move the PACT Act to passage failed 55-42, lacking the 60 votes needed for the bill to move forward.

Moran, who co-authored the bill and is the ranking member on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, voted in favor of the bill Wednesday, while fellow Kansan and Republican Sen. Roger Marshall, voted against.

All of the votes against were by Republicans, except for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who switched his yes vote to a no vote so that the bill can be brought back for a vote when it was clear it lacked the 60 votes needed.  Five Republicans joined Moran in voting in favor of the bill.

“We need to continue the practice of taking care of our nation’s veterans in a way that is not partisan on either side of the issues,” Moran stated in a press release Thursday. “This issue needs to pass the United States Senate in short order.

“At the moment, the work before us, the work that needs to be accomplished today – now, this week – is the passage of the PACT Act so that our veterans who are encountering significant medical challenges have the care and benefits that come from being a veteran. I am of the belief that if you serve in our military, we need to live up to the promises we made to take care of our veterans.”

Three senators, Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) were absent. Manchin and Murkowski recently tested positive for COVID-19 and were not on the senate floor. Leahy is recovering from a broken hip and also was not present. There is no remote voting system in the senate and senators must be present to vote.

The first version of the PACT Act easily passed the Senate 84-14 and went back to the House of Representatives where it received one minor change: making $400 million in existing spending for bill’s purpose mandatory instead of discretionary.

Both senators from Oklahoma, James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, voted no Wednesday, however, Inhofe supported the first version of the bill.

In June, Lankford released a statement that said he voted against the legislation because he feared Veteran Affairs offices would face a backlog of claims.

According to Fox News on July 20, Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-PA), spoke out against the bill saying an additional amendment on provisional spending needed to be added after the bill, titled the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.

Marshall joined Moran in voting yes on the bill in June.

Marshall has yet to release a statement on the PACT Act.