Francis Scott Key Squadron 11 member Josh Marks and his wife, Tatia Marks, an Auxiliary member of Goldstar American Legion Post 191 of Mount Airy, Md., together with a select group across the nation, are lobbying for Senate Bill S.2950 “The Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act” and House Bill H.R. 4574 “The Veterans Right to Breathe Act.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Senate bill in November 2019. Sullivan is a colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and served in the Middle East theatre, and has firsthand experience with burn pit exposure.
Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) introduced the House bill in September 2019. This legislation encompassed 3 facets, 2 of which were integrated in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020. The Marks also lobbied for the elimination of the widows tax and for necessary reforms to the Feres Doctrine, both of which were included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
Marks called into Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office and asked if she would review and co-sponsor S.2950. She did earlier this week.
“We are elated that she took our call and recommendations “ Marks said. “Sen. Sinema is a friend to The American Legion as she was the proponent of the 2019 LEGION Act enactment by Congress. We ask everyone to call their senators and Congressmen and implore them to co-sponsor these bills,” he added.
Francis Scott Key Post 11 is the largest and one of the oldest posts in Maryland.
VA burn pits registry/website: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/burnpits/registry.asp