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Republicans reverse course as Senate passes burn pits legislation after days of pressure

The Senate overwhelmingly gave the final sign-off Tuesday on legislation designed to aid veterans fighting diseases they believe are linked to toxic exposure. On a 86-11 roll call, the vote served as a political surrender by Senate Republicans, a week after they blocked consideration of the popular legislation. Republicans absorbed a series of political blows, led by comedian Jon Stewart and prominent veterans groups, that left many ready to settle the matter and vote to send the legislation quickly to President Biden’s desk. In the end, 37 Republicans joined 49 members of the Democratic caucus to vote for the legislation, which compels the Department of Veterans Affairs to presume that certain illnesses came from exposure to hazardous waste incineration, mostly focused on the issue of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “These things happen all the time with the

President Biden's son Beau served in Iraq in the Delaware Army National Guard. Beau Biden died in 2015 from brain cancer, but no diagnosis connected the cancer to his service in Iraq or other overseas postings. Experts are uncertain of a direct link between specific cancers or diseases and the burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. Veterans then have to prove there is a direct connection between their cancer and burn pit chemicals.