Tampa Bay Reporter
June 29, 2018
The money will be used to improve coordination between the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration as they study the effects of exposure to burn pits.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, announced that the final Department of Defense spending bill that just passed the House included $1 million to study the effects of toxic exposure to burn pits.
Bilirakis co-authored the amendment with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-VT. The money will be used to improve interagency coordination between the DOD and the Veterans Administration as they study the effects of toxic exposure to burn pits.
Bilirakis said he has been working with Veteran advocacy groups to finalize language for legislation he will introduce shortly to ensure that those who were exposed to burn pit toxins during their military service and are diagnosed with diseases known to be associated with such exposure are granted presumptive status.
“We have to expedite the process of ensuring that our men and women who are experiencing hardship due to exposure to these toxins during their service get the medical treatment and benefits they need. Coordination between these two agencies is necessary and these funds are key to making that happen,” Bilirakis said. “Too often we see bureaucracy get in the way of doing the right thing for our heroes. I’ve met with many of these veterans. They are suffering and their stories are heartbreaking.They don’t have time to wait any longer. I will not stop fighting for them.”
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. CD 12 includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.