Rally planned after GOP blocks bill to help sick veterans

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation that would provide veterans exposed to toxins with expanded health care. Now activists are planning a rally at the Capitol.

“We want you to join us on the steps of the Capitol”, from 11 a.m. Sunday to 11 a.m. Monday for a 24-hour watch, says a message from the Burnpits 360 Twitter page. This group helps support veterans who have been exposed to toxic chemicals in burn pits while on duty – chemicals linked to diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

“Real fighters!!!” TV personality and veteran health activist Jon Stewart said in a retweet of the message.

Those unable to travel to the Washington DC area are encouraged to donate to the organization.

Tim Houser, a desert storm veteran from Twinsburg, Ohio, who is with Burnpits 360, attended an Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill, after that the Senate did not pass the legislation.

Although an earlier version of the bill passed both houses, an amended version still has to pass the Senate before it can make its way to the president’s desk and become law. While a majority of the Senate (55-42) voted in favor of the bill, it fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass.

No Democrats voted against the bill. Notable Republicans who voted against include Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said there would be another vote on the bill on Monday, according to The Hill and CNN.

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