Summary:This bill provides a presumption of service connection to burn pit-exposed veterans for certain diseases. Under a presumption of service connection, specific conditions diagnosed in certain veterans are presumed to have been caused by the circumstances of their military service. Health care benefits and disability compensation may then be awarded. A burn pit-exposed veteran is a veteran who was supporting a contingency operation on or after January 1, 1990, and was stationed at a location where an open burn pit (an area used for burning solid waste in open air without equipment) was used. (Cosponsors, Bipartisan)
ANGIE CRAIG’S POSITION: Representative Craig Cosponsored the bill on 02/07/20.
STATUS: Introduced 09/27/19 by Rep. Ruiz, Raul [D-CA-36].
INFORMATION RELATED TO THE BILL:
- “Jennifer Kepner was a hero who courageously battled pancreatic cancer while fighting for her fellow veterans suffering from pulmonary conditions and rare cancers linked to burn pit exposure,” Dr. Ruiz said. “I am humbled to introduce the Jennifer Kepner HOPE Act in her memory, legislation that will ease the financial burden on sick veterans who have served and sacrificed for our nation by reducing their health care costs from the VA. We must not turn our back on this growing public health crisis. Jennifer’s empathy and courage continue to inspire me in this fight for our veterans to get the health care and benefits they have earned and deserve.” (Source: Rep. Ruiz, Press Release, 09/13/19)
“The first step to take is to stop using the harmful burn pits that emit smoke with carcinogens and other toxins that are running the veterans’ health,” Ruiz, an emergency medicine physician, told Military Times. Burn pits have been used by U.S. troops for decades to destroy human waste and garbage generated in deployed locations where proper disposal was difficult or impossible. But following the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon also elected to use them at locations where large amounts of troops were stationed, resulting in disposal sites that were acres wide and blazed 24 hours a day. (Source: Military Times)
Link to the text of the bill.
Link to bill information (support and opposition) on Countable.