Senate OKs enhanced benefits for vets exposed to burn pits

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has approved a sweeping expansion of health care and disability benefits for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in response to concerns about their exposure to toxic burn pits.

Passage of the bill Thursday caps years of advocacy work by veterans groups and others who liken burn pits to the Agent Orange herbicide that Vietnam-era veterans were exposed to.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) helped author the bill.

The House is expected to approve the Senate measure, sending it to President Joe Biden, who has said he’d sign comprehensive legislation immediately.

The military routinely used open burn pits set ablaze with jet fuel to dispose of tires, batteries and medical waste.