Anger About Republicans’ Decision To Veto A Bill To Aid Toxic-Exposed Military Veterans

Jon Stewart criticizes senators who “stab warriors in the back” and has pushed for a bipartisan plan to increase care for veterans.

Reuters, WASHINGTON, July 28 – The U.S. Senate Republicans vetoed a plan to fund healthcare for veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits while serving abroad, and comedian Jon Stewart, a vocal supporter of military veterans, erupted in rage on Thursday.

Republicans' Decision 2022
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During a news conference convened by the bill’s supporters outside the Senate, Stewart said, “I’m used to the lies, I’m used to the hypocrisy, I’m used to the cowardice, I’m used to all of it, but I’m not used to the cruelty.”

According to Stewart, Republicans “haven’t met a war they won’t join and they haven’t seen a veteran they won’t screw over.”

The military burn pits bill would give veterans who were exposed to toxic smoke from the U.S. military’s use of burn pits to dispose of waste on foreign bases until the mid-2010s greater access to health services and disability benefits. The bill initially passed the 100-member Senate with the support of 34 Republicans and all 50 Democrats.

The bill’s estimated first four-year cost is $180 billion if it becomes law. It would help the almost 3.5 million veterans who contracted cancer and other illnesses as a result of breathing in fumes from pits that occasionally reached football field dimensions. Waste such as plastic tires, batteries, explosives, human feces, and chemicals was burned in the pits.

The measure has been pushed for by Jon Stewart, a former anchor of the Daily Show and current host of The Problem with Jon Stewart on Apple TV+.

Senators who switched their votes were referred to as “stab-vets-in-the-back” by him.

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PS: Screw the Republican party and their hollow pledge to our veterans, he said.

Honoring our Pact Act would make it simpler for veterans to get the medical care they need after being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and toxin-producing trenches in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Earlier this year, a version of the bill was approved by the Senate 84–14; however, it was returned to the House for minor technical adjustments. It breezed right by there.

However, on Wednesday, 25 Republican senators who had earlier backed the proposal failed to do so.

Republican John Cornyn of Texas told CNN that Republicans did not support the legislation because Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was preventing votes on changes that Republicans wanted.

He mentioned that the Veterans Administration has denied about 80% of disability claims involving burn pits. For President Joe Biden, the matter is personal since he thinks that a pit from his time in Iraq may have contributed to the development of his late son Beau’s terminal brain cancer.

When returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, servicemen suffered from rare malignancies and severe respiratory disorders brought on by exposure to open air pits, yet they were routinely denied coverage or had to engage in expensive self-funded legal fights to establish their eligibility.

“Costs are not completely covered even if a conflict is resolved. We will soon fulfill that promise to American warriors and their families “Jerry Moran, a Republican senator, made the statement prior to the Thursday vote.

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who supported the legislation in the Senate, declared at a press conference following the vote that “this is a day of our democracy actually working.”

The legislation will also broaden coverage for service members who were exposed to Agent Orange, a pesticide that the American military employed in Vietnam.

The legislation will now be put to a vote in the House of Representatives before being delivered to Biden’s desk for signing into law.

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