"The PACT Act is the least we can do for the countless men and women, many of whom may be in this room for all I know, who suffered toxic exposure while serving their country," Biden said before signing the bill. "This new law matters. It matters a lot."
Known colloquially as the "burn pit bill," the PACT Act is named after Sgt First Class Heath Robinson, and "is the largest expansion of health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxins in more than 30 years," writes CBS News. The president has long supported the legislation, at least in part due to concerns that his late son Beau's brain cancer stemmed from burn pit exposure, ABC News and CBS News note.
Also present at the signing was former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who served as a vocal advocate for the bill, especially after Republicans delayed its passage. "What you've done, Jon, matters," Biden said Wednesday, praising the comedian. "You refuse to let anybody forget. ... We owe you big, man. We owe you big." Stewart received a standing ovation.
"To the veterans and their families here today and all around the country, we can never fully thank you for your service and your sacrifice," the president continued. "You're the very fiber that makes this country what it is."