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Biden says he would have gone on a ‘holy war’ if Congress hadn’t passed toxic burn pits bill in speech about son Beau’s death, his uncle who served in the Battle of Bulge and a 102-year-old World War Two veteran

  • Biden was delivering remarks at the Major Joseph R. ‘Beau’ Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center named after his son who died in 2015 of brain cancer
  • ‘I drive by this building a lot for Air Force One, to fly back and forth to Washington, and I always get a lump in my throat,’ Biden said
  • ‘We’re determined or determined to do something about this. Come hell or high water,’ Biden said of burn pits legislation  

President Biden on Friday promised there would have been a ‘holy war’ if Congress did not pass legislation that expands health care for veterans exposed to burn pits. 

Biden was delivering remarks at the Major Joseph R. ‘Beau’ Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center named after his son who died in 2015 of brain cancer the president attributes to his son’s service in Iraq.

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‘I drive by this building a lot for Air Force One, to fly back and forth to Washington, and I always get a lump in my throat,’ Biden said. 

‘Y’all know what a burn pit is? It’s a hole between eight and 10 feet – high as 12 feet deep. The size of a football field, great big rectangle. And every damn ugly thing in the world was burned. Everything. Everything. Toxic Waste, everything,’ Biden said. 

‘I’m no doctor but it’s pretty clear a lot of guys and women getting sick,’ he added. ‘It’s not unique to me and my family.’

‘We’re determined or determined to do something about this. Come hell or high water,’ Biden said. ‘I made it real clear to the United States Congress if they didn’t pass this damn burn pit bill, I was gonna go on holy war, not a joke.’ 

Biden then revealed that his uncle Frank Biden fought in the Battle of the Bulge and won the Purple Heart but never received it. Joe Biden, when he became president, got his uncle’s Purple Heart and presented it to him at home. 

Biden said his uncle told him, ‘I don’t want the damn thing,’ adding ‘the others died. I lived.’ 

Biden is pictured with 102-year-old World War II veteran Ray

Biden is pictured with 102-year-old World War II veteran Ray 

The Battle of the Bulge was the Adolf Hitler’s last major offensive in World War II in Belgium. It was the deadliest battle ever for the U.S. Army, which suffered 100,000 casualties. 

Biden then paid tribute to a 102-year-old veteran who he said flew 25 missions in World War II over Germany. 

‘First lieutenant, young guy, 102 years old, Ray,’ Biden said. ‘My claim to fame is I used to be his county councilman!’

Biden signed the burn pits legislation, the PACT Act, in August. It passed the Senate on an 86-11 vote after back-and-forth over GOP concerns about its funding. 

The bill removed the burden of proof from veterans who suffer from a litany of illnesses from asthma to terminal cancers after being exposed to toxins in Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘We learned a horrible lesson after Vietnam about the harmful effects of Agent Orange,’ Biden said. ‘Agent Orange was dropped on a hell of a lot of people’s heads. They got all kinds of illnesses, but they couldn’t prove it- you had to be able to prove it.’

‘We insisted that you don’t — all you have to do is prove you were impacted by it landed on your head.’

It also expanded VA healthcare eligibility benefits for roughly 3.5 million veterans, according to the Pentagon.

The measures added 23 respiratory sicknesses and cancers that have been linked to toxic burn pits into law, easing the path for veterans suffering them to get care.

All veterans also now get toxic exposure screenings at VA hospital appointments.

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