(WKBN) – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Representatives Brian Mast (R-FL) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), introduced legislation to help veterans who have been harmed by exposure to toxic burn pits.
The SFC Heath Robinson Burn Pit Transparency Act, is named in honor of Heath Robinson, a central Ohio veteran who passed away last year and was exposed to burn pits while deployed.
“We owe our service members a great debt of gratitude for the safety and freedom we enjoy every day. It is our duty to stand by them and ensure transparency in the tracking of illnesses connected to their service, specifically burn pit exposure,” said Portman.
The VA can and must do better in identifying and supporting veterans exposed to burn pits as well as providing them the care and benefits they have earned and so deeply deserve,” Ryan adds.
Specifically, the lawmakers’ bill would:
- Require VA to document a veteran who may have been exposed to burn pits and notify Congress of the case and several data points related to the veteran’s case and exposure to burn pits;
- Require VA to submit a biannual report to Congress identifying how many veterans report burn pit exposure, how many make disability claims and what the outcome of those claims are, a comprehensive list of conditions reported by burn pit exposed veterans, the location of burn pits, and whether veterans have died; and
- Require healthcare providers to inform a veteran who mentions “burn pits” about the existing Burn Pit Registry so they have knowledge of the Registry and can register themselves; and
- Enable family members to add a veteran to the Burn Pit Registry after his or her death.