OnPolitics: PACT Act to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits signed into law

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Americans overwhelmingly want to be able to vote on an abortion measure on their state ballot – and if they had the chance, they would oppose efforts to ban the procedure by almost 2-1, an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds.

Seven in 10 say they would support using a ballot measure to decide abortion rights in their state, an idea backed across party lines, by 73% of Democrats, 77% of Republicans and 67% of independents.

If there were a ballot measure in their state, those polled would vote by 54%-28% in favor of making abortion legal. Democrats support legal abortion in their state by 7-1 (76%-10%) and independents by 2-1 (52%-27%). Among Republicans, 34% would support abortion rights and 54% would oppose them, a worrisome fissure for the party that has long been identified with the anti-abortion movement.

The survey, taken after the stunning defeat in Kansas last week of a proposal to remove abortion rights from the state constitution, is more evidence of a backlash to the Supreme Court's decision that allows states to tighten restrictions on abortion or bar it entirely.

It's Ella and Amy with today's top stories out of Washington.

Biden signs PACT Act to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits

President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law today, calling the legislation "long overdue." The bill expands health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.

"This is the most significant law our nation has ever had passed to help millions of veterans who are exposed to toxic substances during their military service," Biden said.

What does the PACT Act do? The bill is designed to provide health care benefits for veterans who were exposed to burn pits – open-air trash sites that disposed of military waste through burning.

Currently, there is no clear evidence directly linking burn pits with respiratory illness and cancer, so veterans have to advocate for themselves to receive health care benefits and are often turned down.

The bill codifies certain respiratory illnesses and cancers as related to burn pits, lifting the burden of proof on veterans to receive benefits while researchers explore links.

How many veterans would the PACT Act impact? The bill would expand eligibility for benefits for an estimated 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to burn pits during deployment, according to the Department of Defense.

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What you missed from last night's primaries

The Aug. 9 contests in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin continued to show Donald Trump's might as GOP kingmaker.

The former president's influence during a string of GOP primaries this year continued Tuesday with a victory by Tim Michels in Wisconsin's gubernatorial primary. Trump had endorsed Michels over an establishment candidate who had the backing of former Vice President Mike Pence.

In Vermont, State Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint won the Democratic primary for the state’s lone House seat, making her the favorite to become the state's first woman to serve in Congress.

In Wisconsin, U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes won the Democratic nomination resoundingly and will face incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in November in a race that could determine which party will control the upper chamber next year.

In Minnesota, the biggest surprise of the night was the squeaker primary win by Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who eked out a razor-thin margin of less than 3,000 votes against a centrist pro-cop challenger. In 2020, Omar won the district by 35,000 votes.

In Connecticut, Republican Dominic Rapini won the GOP primary contest for secretary of state. He is a former leader of Fight Voter Fraud, a group that has promoted false claims about the 2020 presidential election.

How old do you need to be to become the next U.S. president? Here are some of the basic requirements needed for federal elected office. -- Amy and Ella

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: OnPolitics: Biden signs PACT Act, helping veterans exposed to burn pits