Biden speaks via FaceTime with, sends pizza to veterans protesting burn pit bill

President Biden spoke with veterans camping on Capitol Hill until the Senate passes a bill to expand care for burn-injured veterans via FaceTime and sent them pizza on Saturday.

Biden tweeted that he originally planned to visit them in person to meet veterans and their families supporting Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson honoring our PACT law, but had to cancel after testing positive for COVID-19.

He said he instead asked Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough to bring them pizza and facilitate a FaceTime call with them.

“These heroes fought for our country – they shouldn’t have to fight for health care either,” McDonough’s office said. said in a tweet. “The Senate must pass the PACT Act now.”

Biden said on the FaceTime call that the country has a “sacred obligation” to care for those who go to war and to care for them and their families after they return. He said opposing the bill is “despicable” and that he must believe that opponents of the bill “will right the mistake they made.”

The Senate attempted to push the bill forward on Wednesday, but received only 55 of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. All Democrats and eight Republicans voted in favor of the bill, while three senators were absent.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said the day after the bill failed that he planned to put it to a vote again on Monday.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), one of the votes against the legislation, told the Senate he was not opposed to the main purpose of the legislation, but he did object to the fact that the bill would include $400 billion in unrelated spending. , which he called a “budget trick.”

Toomey tweeted Saturday that the bill could have passed weeks ago had Senate Democrats scrapped the bill’s spending.

Schumer said in his comments after the bill failed that he offered Toomey the chance to propose an amendment to scrap the spending after the legislation received 60 votes to move forward, but Toomey insisted that the amendment be adopted in advance.

Toomey called on the Senate to vote on the amendment at an upcoming Tweeter. He said Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.) is working in good faith to resolve the dispute.