Senate Republicans were sharply criticized by Democrats and their celebrity friends and media allies following a brief delay in the passage of a bill to assist military veterans with health issues related to exposure to toxic burn pits.
Yet, despite the Democratic demands that Republicans immediately pass the bill without any delays, as well as a promise from President Joe Biden that he would immediately sign that bill into law, it has now been revealed that the PACT Act won’t be signed by Biden until at least the middle of next week, Fox News reported.
A signing ceremony had initially been scheduled for Monday but has since been pushed back to Wednesday, August 10, without any explanation from the White House for this new delay on the part of the president.
Republicans chastised over brief delay
The PACT Act, which allocates roughly $278.5 billion in funding for veterans who were exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits, was initially passed in a bipartisan fashion by the Senate in June and sent to the House for consideration, where it was eventually passed with a few changes and then sent back to the Senate for a vote on the revised version.
That second vote in the Senate on the revised bill was stalled for a few days, though, over Republican objections to a budgetary “gimmick” involving unrelated attached spending of $400 billion that had been labeled as mandatory instead of discretionary in order to bypass statutory spending caps.
Democrats and allied media pundits and celebrities like Jon Stewart were furious at the delay and falsely smeared Republicans as not caring about sick veterans and other partisan accusations. Whether due to the clearly coordinated pressure campaign or not, the bill was eventually passed just a couple of days later and has now been sent to the president’s desk for his signature.
Biden implied he’d immediately sign bill after passage
Indeed, the White House on Tuesday heralded the passage of the PACT Act with a “fact sheet” about the bill that characterized it as a fulfilled promise by President Biden and provided some details of what the bill would do once it was signed into law.
“President Biden looks forward to signing the bipartisan PACT Act, delivering for America’s veterans and their families, and demonstrating that we can — and will — come together where we agree to get big things done for our country,” the White House release claimed.
Biden himself issued a statement on Tuesday that similarly praised Congress for passing the bill and said, “I look forward to signing this bill, so that veterans and their families and caregivers impacted by toxic exposures finally get the benefits and comprehensive health care they earned and deserve.”
COVID isolation hasn’t stopped other bill signings
As noted, it is unclear why, exactly, the signing ceremony for the PACT Act has now been delayed by the White House until Wednesday, particularly in light of the infuriated howling last week about how desperately urgent it was for the bill to immediately become law without any delay whatsoever.
One thing is certain, though — the White House cannot use President Biden’s continued COVID positive isolation as an excuse for the delay, as Biden signed no less than five different bills into law this week while isolated in the White House residence.
On Wednesday, Biden signed three bills into law — two in regard to commemorative coins, the third about homicide victim’s family’s rights — and then two more bills on Friday, both dealing with combating fraud in pandemic relief programs.