Forward Observer: HR 3967 (Honoring Our PACT) Dies and Resurrects
Strange Doings — Reappears as S. 3373 Under a New Name
Strange doings occurred in the House last week. The “Honoring Our PACT Act” (H.R. 3967) has undergone a metamorphosis behind the scenes since the Senate returned it to the House in mid-June. The bill reappeared in modified form as Senate Bill 3373.
S. 3373 had been originally conceived as the “Protecting Our Gold Star Families Education Act.” Yet, the House gutted it, removing its text and inserting the entire text of the Senate-passed version of H.R. 3967, except for one specific clause. That clause involved the tax treatment of income derived from contract buyouts of health care professionals as authorized by Sec. 902 of the bill. Also, it renamed the act, the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022.”
The severely amended bill was then passed with a 342-88 vote by the House (H.R. 3967 passed 256-174) — suggesting, perhaps, true bipartisanship occurred — on July 13 and was on its way to Senate the following day. The President has said before he would sign the measure. It should be noted this action will cost in the neighborhood of $433 billion for compensation and healthcare and affect about 3.7 million veterans and their survivors (100,000), according to the Congressional Budget Office. It is a significant piece of legislation, whatever its bill number and name.
Now, let us see what is in the heart of the Senate. The Senate should want to get this action done before they traditionally recess to escape the dog days of summer in Washington, D.C. (August), for various reasons.
As of 17 July 2022