Comedian and activist Jon Stewart recently called out the GOP for blocking the burn pits bill or the PACT act. The act would have facilitated health care services for veteran officials who are exposed to and affected by burn pits.
Despite not being a part of the active military, Stewart has long been vocal about his support towards veterans, first responders and emergency personnel. In the wake of blocking the burn pits bill, the activist took to Twitter to criticize Senator Pat Toomey, who reportedly played a key role in the latest move.
Jon Stewart also appeared at a press conference on Capitol Hill and blasted Senate Republicans for their decision while offering sympathy to the veterans:
“Ain’t this a b*tch ? America’s heroes, who fought in our wars, outside sweating their a**es off, with oxygen, battling all kinds of ailments, while these motherf***ers sit in the air conditioning, walled off from any of it. They don’t have to hear it, they don’t have to see it. They don’t have to understand that these are human beings.”
Steward also mentioned that despite his usual disappointment, he is not used to the cruelty shown by the decision makers:
“I’m used to the lies, I’m used to the hypocrisy. Senate is where accountability goes to die. I’m used to all of it. But I am not used to cruelty.”
Jon Stewart continued to slam Republican officials in his speech and said:
“[Republicans] haven’t met a war they won’t sign up for, and they haven’t met a veteran they won’t screw over. Now they say, ‘Well, this will get done, maybe after we get back from our summer recess, maybe during the lame duck.’ Because they’re on Senate time. Senate time is ridiculous.”
The comedian and activist added that the officials live to 200 like tortoises. He said that these officials don’t lose their jobs or the benefits they receive, noting that unlike them, the veterans aren’t on Senate time. Jon stated that the veterans are on “human time.”
When he mentioned that blocking the bill was an embarrassment to the Senate and the country, the 59-year-old said:
“This is an embarrassment to the Senate, to the country, to the founders, and all that they profess to hold dear. And if this is America First, then America is f***ed.”
Burn pits are areas in overseas military sites are used to burn waste material.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, smoke from the pits contains certain toxic substances that might have short-term as well as long-term health effects. They added that those who were exposed to the pits for longer periods and those who are prone to illnesses are more susceptible to the after effects of the pits.
Passing the PACT act would have made it easier for veterans exposed to burn pits during their service to gain access to better health care. However, the burn pits bill fell short of the 60 votes it required for the act to pass.
What is the PACT Act?
The PACT act or the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics act is a bill to address the health issues faced by veterans. It is especially for those who are are exposed to toxic substances like burn pits, radiation, and Agent Orange while serving their duties overseas.
The bill aims to extend health care benefits to such veterans and provide health services that were previously unavailable. The US Senate passed the PACT Act of 2022 in a bipartisan effort in June to expand healthcare resources, services and research for veterans exposed to hazardous substances.
Twitter reacts to Jon Stewart’s statement on blocking PACT act
Jon Stewart has long been known for his advocacy towards health care of veteran military officials. During his time as the host of The Daily Show, he often used the platform to discuss the treatment of veterans and the 9/11 first responders.
Even after stepping down from the show, Jon Stewart continued his activism for the aforementioned causes. In 2019, he spoke to Congress about the 9/11 first responders who failed to receive adequate health care benefits from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
More recently, Stewart took the stand to speak for veterans once again in the wake of the blocking of the PACT act. Following his criticism of the Republicans, several people took to Twitter to praise the activist for his words.
While some called Jon Steward an “American hero,” others called him a “national treasure.”
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