COLUMBUS, Ga, (WRBL) — Last week in Columbus, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, Georgia (D), promised to push legislation to assist military veterans whose health has been adversely impacted because of exposure to burn pits.

The first step in keeping that promise came Tuesday. The Senate overwhelmingly approved a procedural vote to begin debate on the “Honoring Our PACT Act”–which would expand V-A healthcare eligibility to 3.5 million veterans and strengthen federal research on toxic exposure.

The first vote passed the Senate 86-12 with broad bipartisan support.

“We took a big step forward today. Just in the last few hours, I voted alongside a significant majority of the Senate to move toward debate of this legislation,” Ossoff told News 3 in a Zoom interview hours after the vote. “To look after the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in places where U.S. service members have been exposed to burn pits and toxins and get them the care they need through the VA.”

He warned it’s far from a done deal.

“Victory is not assured and I’m going to keep working every hour of every day and maximize the chances we get this done for veterans in Georgia and nationwide,” Ossoff said.

Once it gets out of the Senate, the bill would then have to pass the House and be signed by President Biden before becoming law.