FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2022
The Razzberry Report:
Rouzer, Budd voted against medical aid to veterans exposed to toxic substances
Note to Editors: This is another in a series of reports intended to spotlight votes by Rep. David Rouzer and Rep. Ted Budd that demonstrate they are unfit to represent the people of North Carolina in the Congress of the United States.
The U.S. Senate’s final approval on August 2 of the bill requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide improved health care for military personnel exposed to toxic substances should be applauded by all Americans. But the convoluted process to get it done, which caused a national furor, should not be forgotten, according to the Brunswick County Democratic Party and Democrat candidates for public office.
Long before the national furor was focused on the about-face by 25 Senate Republicans who first voted for and then against the measure, North Carolina’s Congressmen Ted Budd and David Rouzer were against this legislation (HR3967), known as the PACT Act (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022) in the House. Despite their vote against the bill, it passed 256-174 in the House of Representatives. There was a subsequent House vote when Rouzer again voted against it, but Budd changed to vote for it.
Budd is now running for a U.S. Senate seat, and Rouzer represents Brunswick County in the U.S. House and is running for re-election.
Veterans saw the bill as a necessary response to the illnesses that so many are now suffering as a result of their exposure to toxic substances while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many veterans who served in those theatres have fallen ill with respiratory illnesses, cancers and other issues that have been directly related to the inhalation of toxins. They rightly viewed the delays, and the highly publicized votes against it, as a betrayal of trust to those who served.
According to the Washington Post, “The PACT Act would significantly change how the VA cares for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances by compelling the VA to presume that certain illnesses are linked to exposure to hazardous waste incineration…” This will be of special importance for vets who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“Given the large military presence and numbers of veterans in North Carolina, members of Congress here should be particularly sensitive to issues so directly impacting the health of veterans,” stated Eric Terashima, a Marine Colonel (ret.) who served in Afghanistan. Terashima is a resident of Brunswick County and a candidate for the NC General Assembly House (District 17).
“But Budd and Rouzer both voted against it—Rouzer twice and Budd once,” he continued. “They both opposed this important bill that forces the VA to improve its care for veterans suffering from the serious and sometimes fatal illnesses related to the inhalation of those toxins.”
“The PACT Act is truly a promise for improved veterans’ healthcare that needed to be enacted. And, in Brunswick County we need to be represented in Washington by individuals who will keep their promises and be sensitive to the needs of those who served,” Terashima said.
“I’m so thankful that, in the end, this bill did pass, so that those of us who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will have access to care for the illnesses resulting from our service. But we should not have to beg for the health care that was promised us. Clearly, representatives in Washington like Budd and Rouzer, who voted against this, do not truly value veterans or the sacrifices we have made for our country.”