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Video Of Republicans Fist Bumping On Senate Floor After Blocking Veterans Bill Sparks Outrage

Video Of Republicans Fist Bumping On Senate Floor After Blocking Veterans Bill Sparks Outrage

Prominent Republicans—a group that included Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Steve Daines of Montana—were caught on camera fist bumping on the Senate floor after blocking a procedural vote that would clear a path for a vote on legislation to expand benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits while in combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Burn pits are a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States but have been the subject of controversy because burning solid wastes in an open pit generates numerous pollutants that cause different types of cancers, respiratory disorders, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders and even birth defects.

In June, the House and the Senate passed a bill known as the Honoring Our PACT Act with bipartisan support. However, issues with the bill's language prompted it to pass both legislative chambers again.

This time however, a group of 25 Republican Senators reversed their support—and went so far as to congratulate themselves for denying veterans vital support.

You can see the moment in the videos below.

Democrats, such as Montana Senator Jon Tester, reacted with anger. Speaking during a press conference after the bill failed to pass the procedural vote, Tester said that "we in essence yesterday took benefits away from the people who have been impacted by war – that we sent off to war."

Tester added that veterans "are going to die" and that they are "not going to get their benefits, they're not going to get their health care all because of our dysfunction."

Aleks Morosky, a United States Army veteran who is a member of the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001, said that passing the PACT Act "would have finally kept that promise for veterans with toxic wounds. But instead, that promise is still being broken."

The news quickly spread on social media and many condemned Republicans who voted against the measure.

The bill needed 60 votes to advance. In the end, the vote was 55-42. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, changed his vote from yes to no in order to allow a future vote on the legislation.

There is no word yet on when the Senate, which leaves on a month-long recess next week, will vote on the bill again.