‘Disagree better’ on display as President Joe Biden visits Utah

Aug 10, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: Aug 11, 2023, 9:07 am

president joe biden...

President Joe Biden speaks at the George E. Whalen Department of Veteran Affairs on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023. His remarks were centered around the PACT Act, which was signed by the President one year ago to the day. Photo credit: Kira Hoffelmeyer, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s top executive had to practice what he preached about disagreeing better during President Joe Biden’s visit to Utah.

During their private moments together, that lesson materialized for Gov. Spencer Cox as he and President Biden discussed disagreements over the designation of a new Arizona national monument.

The style appeared to have paid off for Utahn’s as Cox said the White House had previously agreed to one of his requests.

“We asked the White House… knowing this monument designation was coming if they would exclude grazing from the monument designation to allow grazing to continue,” he told reporters outside the VA following the President’s speech. “They made that change.”

Cox said he thanked President Biden for that and touted that is what disagreeing better can do.

“That wouldn’t have happened if I had just called him names and attacked him over this,” Cox said. “Instead, we found a place where we could get something that we wanted in that monument designation even though again, I still think it was a mistake.”

Disagree better

Disagree Better” is the slogan for Cox’s National Governor’s Association initiative for the year, where he’s asking Governors to model better civil discourse.

Cox said he and the President also talked about how the federal government can help the Great Salt Lake and create more computer chips in Utah through the CHIPS Act.

He was also asked whether the President might designate any more national monuments in Utah.

“I hope not,” Cox said with a chuckle. “None that we’re aware of.”

Cox also gave brief remarks before the President spoke at Salt Lake City’s Veterans Affairs hospital on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the PACT Act. 

The PACT Act expanded benefits and services for toxic-exposed veterans.

“There’s been some question over whether or not the governor of the state of Utah would welcome the President of a different party,” Cox said.

To loud cheers, Cox also said, “I think it’s insane we’re having those conversations in our country today.”

He went on to share how the PACT Act has benefited Utah vets.

“More than 3,000 Utah veterans have already submitted claims related to the PACT Act and approximately 2,800 of those have been completed totaling almost 12 million in retroactive payments,” he said. “They’ve been processed fairly quickly in less than four months and as government goes, that’s fairly quickly.” 

The White House said the PACT Act is the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic-exposed veterans in more than 30 years.

To ensure veterans can receive high-quality health care screenings and services related to potential toxic exposures, the PACT Act expands access to VA health care services for veterans exposed during their military service. For post-9/11 combat veterans, the bill extends the period of time they have to enroll in VA health care from five to ten years post-discharge. For those combat veterans who do not fall within that window, the bill also creates a one-year open enrollment period.


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‘Disagree better’ on display as President Joe Biden visits Utah