The Senate decided (69-30) that actual science is irrelevant when considering veterans' benefits.
Coburn’s amendment to the FY2012 Veterans Affairs appropriations bill would have required the VA secretary to determine,
The "real science" argument has nothing whatsoever to do with FedGov spending decisions, and has not since the Nixon/Carter days.
… a “causal relationship” — instead of a [mere] “positive association” — between a veteran’s illness and exposure to toxic substances [like Agent Orange] before presuming the ailment is connected to the veteran’s service and contributing to their healthcare costs.
It's "NEEDS" here. Specifically, the NEED to get re-elected.