Schumer: GOP Sen. Toomey will get his amendment vote on spending for $400 billion burn pit bill

The bill helping veterans exposed to toxic burn pits could pass the Senate as soon as today

Updated: August 1, 2022 - 11:17am

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday that he'll allow a vote on Sen. Pat Toomey's amendment on Democrats' so-called burn pit bill regarding the Pennsylvania Republican's concern about the measure's $400 billion in spending.

The bill, if passed, would expand health care benefits for military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Passage of the PACT Act stalled last week when it failed to overcome the Senate's 60-vote filibuster threshold, over Toomey and 24 other GOP senators' concerns about the funding.

Toomey says the measure as written includes a "budget gimmick" that would allow $400 billion of current-law spending to be moved from the discretionary- to the mandatory-spending category.

He has promised his vote in favor of the bill if his amendment passes, and he has said the measure overall has support from about 85 of the chamber's 100 members, more than enough for final passage.

"This is the oldest trick in Washington. People take a sympathetic group of Americans ... craft a bill to address their problems and then sneak in something completely unrelated that they know could never pass on its own and dare Republicans to do anything about it," Toomey said about mandatory vs. discretionary spending.

To get the legislation passed, Schumer will give the chamber the chance to vote on Toomey’s proposed amendment as early as Monday. 

“I am urging everyone to vote yes," the New York Democrat said Sunday. "This is not a Washington issue. This is a local issue. We just need Washington to help solve it."