Forward Observer: Senate Rejects “Honoring Our PACT”
24 Senators Turn Tail
As reported July 17, we found the doings of the House strange when it sent the H.R. 3967 back to the Senate as S. 3373. Worse, on Wednesday, the Senate voted 55-42 ( U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 117th Congress – 2nd Session) — short of the three-fifths vote needed to end the filibustering — to reject the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022”, better known as the “Honoring Our PACT Act”.
It was am unexpected failure, according Sharon Hodge, Director of Vietnam Veterans of America’s Legislative Affairs. ” … sixty votes were needed to avoid another delay in the bill becoming law. The bipartisan bill was voted out of the Senate with an 88-14 vote in early June, and by a 342-88 vote in the House. However, this was not the case as Senators who had previously voted against and for the bill objected to how the money connected to the measure (about $300 billion over 10 years) would be accounted for in the regular appropriations process.” The question: Why did this not come up before?
Nevertheless, the the matter might not be over. Senator Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) suddenly changed his vote from a Yay to a Nay, a procedure that allows him to bring the matter back on the floor for a future vote, according to Jack McManus, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America. A staunch supporter of the act, Schumer saw the writing on the wall and acted to save the legislation from its death in this 117th Congress. And he has a strong ally in Sen. Jon Tester, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Supposedly, Sen. Schumer will bring the bill back to the Senate floor for another vote for passage about August 5, 2022.
We will see.
As of 29 July 2022
Updated 30 July (mention of week of 5 August floor vote; editorial correction on votes required)