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Long Island News

Sen. Gillibrand Pushes For Veteran Health Bill Linked To Garbage Burn Pits

Lawmakers and advocates for military veterans gathered in Washington D.C. to push a bipartisan bill that would help sick veterans get health care for diseases linked to garbage burn pits.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York co-sponsored the bill. She said the Department of Veterans Affairs denies up to 80% of claims for diseases linked to toxic fumes at burn pits used at bases overseas.

“When you are so ill-advised to put burn pits at bases and burn everything you can imagine — with jet fuel — what do you expect? Burn pits are illegal in the United States for a reason,” Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand said the bill would streamline the application process for disability benefits and create a “presumption” that burn pit exposure causes certain diseases.

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart supports Gillibrand’s bill.

“For those that have fought and defended and served this country, for them to come home and have to fight against the very government that they volunteered to defend is immoral. It's unconscionable, and it's easily remedied,” Stewart said.

The VA has said more studies need to be done to prove that burn pits lead to cancers and other illnesses.

The U.S. Department of Defense estimates 3.5 million veterans may have been exposed to toxic burn pits.