Opinion: Now They Vote Yes  ...  How Big of Them!

Ken Kayse

HR 3967 passed the Senate and now goes to the President for his signature, making it law, and not one word was changed before the vote.

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Photo by Jules D. on Unsplash

This is a follow-up article to Republicans Beware: America’s Veterans Have Very, Very Long Memories.

Wait a minute!

Huh?

What just happened?

When I first awoke this morning, I did my normal routine: shave, shower, brush my teeth, got dressed, and then grabbed a coffee. The next thing I did was warm up my computer to wake it from its sleep so I can read the news as I flick on the TV — that’s my normal routine.

As soon as the TV came on, CNN was showing that HR 3967, the PACT Act, had been overwhelmingly passed in the Senate by a vote of 86–11 after having been voted down by a group of Republicans — who had originally voted for it overwhelmingly in June — on July 30th, just 3 days prior.

With this act becoming law, veterans who were in areas exposed to burn pits will now qualify for quality care and compensation for the injuries and debilitating diseases they suffer from.

Further, in many previous reports, substantial established proof has been provided by the National Academies of Science and Medicine that indicates exposure to Agent Orange causes hypertension. High blood pressure affects over 37% of the veteran population.

But wait, there’s more!

Before we get all congratulatory and celebrate this huge victory for veterans, please, let’s not forget what happened along the way for this act to become law.

Uncle Sam (Congress and the Senate) has known for quite some time that soldiers being exposed to chemicals from these sources would suffer from these diseases (certain cancers, hypertension, diabetes, and mental health issues).

Knowing this, they did NOTHING. They had the proof they needed to enact changes to our laws, but they willfully neglected to recognize the proof, ostensibly, because of the cost of the program to make amends.

During the significant number of years that have slipped into history without Uncle Sam acknowledging these conditions, thousands of veterans have died. Evidently, they weren’t worth being given the proper medical care or any of the other benefits they fought so hard to defend.

Their only recourse, now that they posthumously have been given these benefits, is that their widows or family members can file a claim for proper monetary compensation from the government. Better late than never.

Too little, too late!

That brings us to the vote that finally passed this legislation. Let me refresh your memory about the timeline.

This bill, HR 3967, was first introduced in the House of Representatives back in June. It passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate, where changes were made to the language of the legislation before it was brought up for a vote.

It passed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote in the Senate 84–14 and was returned to the House for a process called reconciliation. That’s where the House votes to approve the changes the Senate made before bringing it up for another vote.

In reconciliation, a relatively minor change was made to correct a procedural error before a vote to pass the measure was successful. That meant it had to be sent back to the Senate for a discussion on the change the House made before voting to approve it.

At the next vote, the measure failed 55–42, purportedly because some Republicans were mad about Democrats announcing they had reached an agreement on passing climate change legislation.

Thirty Republicans changed their prior vote to approve this legislation for no logical reason, other than perhaps to punish the Democrats for getting the votes necessary to pass the climate legislation. That happened on July 30th, 2022.

Revenge, indeed!

Needless to say, America’s veterans were enraged at this act of defiance from the Republicans. We felt like we had been “Charlie Brown’ed” and Jon Stewart was livid because he saw it for what it was: a cheap attempt by the Republicans to exact revenge for some perceived slight that happened before the measure was brought up for a vote — something that was totally unrelated to this particular matter.

What happens next is mind-boggling. August 2nd rolls around and another vote is taken on HR 3967. This time, it passes overwhelmingly, 86–11.

Guess what? Not one word of the bill was changed from July 30th’s vote to August 2nd’s vote — not one word!

To those Republicans who voted for it, then against it, then for it again, congratulations. You made your point. You sure taught those bad Democrats a thing or two — Yay, you! Daddy Mitch is very proud of you!

As for the ones you should be appeasing, your voters, the ones who elected you to represent them, well… let’s just leave it alone. Let’s just sweep this vote under the carpet and out of sight so the public can’t see the damage you have done.

Speaking of revenge…

There’s this big dance coming up just around the corner called the November Elections. It is a time when each voter reflects on what their elected officials have done compared to what they said they would do.

I can’t imagine very many veterans being willing to vote for any of you hypocrites. Our honor, our sense of duty, and our desire to see justice prevail will not allow us to vote for you, devious smirks and fist bumps aside.

Have a great day!

Thanks for reading this!

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Being a "Lefty," my writing tends to lean a little to the left, but I consider myself an Independent--I'm willing to listen to all sides. Writing gives me a chance to gather my thoughts. All my life I have been a glass-half-full believer.

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