Biden speaks via FaceTime with, sends pizza to veterans protesting for burn pit bill
By The Citizen on July 30, 2022
President Biden spoke with veterans who are camping out at the Capitol building until the Senate passes a bill to expand care for veterans with burn pit injuries via FaceTime and sent them pizza on Saturday.
Biden tweeted that he was originally planning to visit them in person to meet with veterans and their families supporting the Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act, but he needed to cancel after testing positive for COVID-19.
He said he instead had Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough bring them pizza and facilitate a FaceTime call with them.
“These heroes fought for our country — they shouldn’t have to fight for health care, too,” McDonough’s office said in a tweet. “The Senate must pass the PACT Act now.”
Biden said on the FaceTime call that the country has a “sacred obligation” to care for those who go into war and care for them and their families after they return. He said opposing the legislation is “despicable,” and he has to believe that the bill’s opponents are “going to make up for the mistake they made.”
The Senate attempted to advance the bill on Wednesday, but it only received 55 of the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. All Democrats and eight Republicans voted in favor of the bill, while three senators were absent.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the day after the bill failed that he plans to bring it up for a vote again on Monday.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), one of the votes against the legislation, said on the Senate floor that he was not opposed to the main purpose of the legislation, but he opposed that the bill would include $400 billion in unrelated spending, which he called a “budgetary gimmick.”
Toomey tweeted on Saturday that the bill could have passed weeks ago if Senate Democrats dropped the spending from the bill.
Schumer said in his comments after the bill failed that he offered Toomey the ability to propose an amendment to remove the spending after the legislation received 60 votes to advance, but Toomey insisted on the amendment passing in advance.
Toomey called for the Senate to vote on the amendment in a subsequent tweet. He said Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.) is working in good faith to resolve the conflict.