WASHINGTON D.C. (WLNS) – A Congressional bill aiming to expand health coverage to ease the burden of veterans exposed to burn pits is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks

The Veterans Burn Pit Exposure Recognition Act was first introduced in April 2021 by Representatives Elissa Slotkin and Peter Meijer.

After more than a year, it’s ready for a vote in the Senate after passing in the House in March.

The legislation is part of the larger Honoring Our Pact Act. The package of bills contains a list of overhauls changing the way the Department of Veterans Affairs reviews burn pit exposure claims.

In addition, the act calls for several studies to be done by the department to investigate the physical and mental health effects of toxins found in burn pits on service members. Representative Slotkin said this shifts the burden of proof away from the vets.

“The veteran spends their valuable time and many of them while they are sick, to convince the VA that they qualify for all these new tests, all these new research, and all these new stuff. Now with these new laws, it flips the paradigm,” she said. “They now have a presumption that you could be suffering from something related to burn pit exposure that completely reverse what you qualify for, what they test you for, and basically how they treat you.”

Representative Slotkin said she is confident the bill will pass the Senate with a vote expected in the coming weeks.