JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Recently the Honoring Our PACT Act, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, passed in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, but is currently on pause.
The Camp Lejeune toxic water survivors have been fighting for justice for years, and with this recent objection, they said a small delay won’t stop them.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will allow those affected to sue for the harmful contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987.
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“It’s one of the largest drinking water contaminations in the country, and the DOD (Department of Defense) is responsible,” said Mike Partain, Florida advocate for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
Partain is one of the three million people this bill would affect. He said the blue slip objection is more of a procedural matter.
“The blue slip is basically the House, when they were reviewing the law, as it was sent back down to the House from the Senate, I think it was three sentences where the Senate had created an appropriation, which is something that should originate out of the House,” said Partain.
Brian Amburgey, a Kentucky advocate for the bill, recently met with Senator Mitch McConnell about what happens next.
“He’s hoping by the end of next week, it will be back through the Senate and back down to the House representatives,” said Amburgey. “And by the end of the month, it will be on President Biden’s desk to be signed.”
Both Partain and Amburgey said they were caught off guard when Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, who helped introduce the bill, recently voted against it.
“I’ve personally met with them several times over my 15-year fight with Camp Lejeune,” said Partain. “I was greatly shocked and disappointed that they would actually vote against the bill that they originally supported.”
Tillis released a statement that Congress has an obligation to ensure the Veterans Administration can effectively implement the legislation and has reservations about the department’s ability to do so, due to other challenges.
Both advocates also said that all the attorney advertisements online and on TV are premature since the bill has yet to be signed into law.