Ossoff says he hopes Senate bill to help military personnel affected by burning fireplaces passes vote next week

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — US Senator Jon Ossoff stopped in Columbus this morning to tout legislation he says will help veterans.

Ossoff says he is working on a bipartisan Senate bill expanding access to health care for Gulf War veterans affected by illnesses associated with open fires.

Those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have long blamed burning fireplaces for illnesses ranging from cancer to respiratory problems.

Ossoff says this bill would improve the process of screening for these diseases and make it easier to get treatment and benefits.

“The most important thing I can communicate today is that no matter who wins, who serves us, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, we must come together as one state and one people to care for those who sacrificed themselves in our defense,” Ossoff said.

Here is the problem:

The military has used large burning pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. They burned everything from medical and human waste to plastics. And the fires were started with aviation fuel.

Veterans exposed to certain combustion sources claim that their illnesses are related to this exposure. It can be difficult for veterans to identify burning spots as the cause of illnesses.

“…For our veterans who have been exposed to toxins as a result of their service in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ossoff said. “Veterans who were exposed to hotspots in Iraq and Afghanistan are getting the lifelong healthcare from VA they need and have earned. And I am pushing for us to have a vote in the Senate on this measure as soon as next week. »

There has been opposition to similar bills because Republicans say they could end up promising more than the Veterans Administration and government can deliver.

President Biden is among those pushing for this legislation. His son Beau, a veteran, died of cancer. The president that the disease was related to the hearths of combustion.

Norman D. Briggs