Burn Pits Update: Keeping the Momentum Going

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Dear Friends, 

Our momentum continues! The past two weeks have been busy in our fight to get veterans exposed to burn pits the health care they need.

  • The bipartisan Burn Pits Caucus that I started had its first Member meeting to coordinate our advocacy in Congress for servicemembers and veterans exposed to burn pits. 
     
  • I had a productive meeting with Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis to discuss bipartisan legislation we are writing to ensure servicemembers and veterans exposed to burn pits get the care and benefits they deserve. We will be introducing the bill soon, so stay tuned for updates! 
     
  • I met with VA leaders and asked about their efforts to immediately provide veterans exposed to burn pits with treatment and benefits. We cannot wait! I wasn’t satisfied with their response and the Department of Defense refused to attend the meeting, so I will be submitting an official inquiry to ensure both agencies do their jobs.

For seven years, our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan were exposed to burn pits – massive fields where the military burned tons of waste – releasing toxic chemicals, carcinogens, and particulate matter into the air. Now, our veterans are facing rare and deadly cancers and pulmonary conditions likely stemming from their exposure.

We have a responsibility to provide our veterans with comprehensive health care services during deployment and once they return home, and I will not rest until that is accomplished. As always, if you, a loved one, or a friend has been exposed to burn pits and would like assistance, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 760-424-8888 and ask for Patrick or Blake, both wounded warrior veterans who can assist you with the process. 

Sincerely,

Raul Ruiz, M.D.
Member of Congress