WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Republicans and Democrats in the Senate celebrated with the passage of the Honoring our Pact act.
“No one goes through what you went through. And that’s just the epitome of grace,” Veterans activist Jon Stewart said.
Stewart shed tears and shared a hug with Susan Zeier after the Senate passed the bill named after her son-in-law.
“I no longer have to carry heath on my shoulders, while I’m advocating for all the other veterans out there who are sick and dying,” Zeier said.
The bill passed with a large bipartisan majority and will help millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service.
“This is a day of our democracy actually working,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said.
Gillibrand says it’s a long time coming.
“They deserve to be able to come back to the healthcare they need to survive and their families deserve the benefits they’ve earned when they pass,” Gillibrand said.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the cost of care is necessary to give veterans what they deserve.
“When we send someone off to war, there are costs. Some of the costs are immediate and some of the costs are down the road,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
Schumer and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Ks.) believe Congress is now keeping its promise to veterans.
“It’s one thing to say we respect you, we appreciate your service, we thank you for your service. It’s another thing to make sure that service is cared for,” Moran said.
The house passed the bill in March. The senate made numerous changes in the bill, so the House will have to vote again and should approve it as early as next week.