Schumer expects burn pits bill to pass Tuesday

“I have some good news, the minority leader and I have come to an agreement to vote on the PACT Act this evening,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “I’m very optimistic that this bill will pass so our veterans across America can breathe a sigh of relief.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, rallied fellow Republicans to hold up the legislation in exchange for amendment votes, specifically an amendment that would change an accounting provision. Toomey had previously said he wanted an amendment vote with a 50-vote threshold.

Tuesday’s final vote is expected to follow votes on three amendments with a 60-vote threshold. Toomey’s amendment, which would have made a change to a budget component of the legislation, failed as expected, in a vote of 47-48.

Last week’s surprise move by Republicans led to a swift backlash among veterans and veterans’ groups, including protests on the US Capitol steps over the weekend and early this week. Comedian and political activist Jon Stewart — a lead advocate for veterans on the issue — took individual GOP senators to task for holding up a bill that had garnered wide bipartisan support in earlier votes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his party’s handling of the legislation at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Look, these kind of back and forths happen all the time in the legislative process, you’ve observed that over the years,” he said. “I think in the end the veterans service organizations will be pleased with the final result.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

CNN’s Manu Raju and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

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