“I’m used to the hypocrisy … but I’m not used to the cruelty,” comedian Jon Stewart exclaimed as he joined lawmakers and advocates who are pushing to pass the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.
Stewart, who has been an unrelenting advocate for military veterans, voiced his anger loudly on Thursday in front of the U.S Capitol, joined by Jon Tester (D-MT), who has also been an outspoken advocate of the bill.
Harsh criticism was levied at Republican senators who advocates say have voiced their support for helping U.S. veterans but then voted against the bill, which wants to increase health care and disability benefits spending over the next decade by some $300 billion.
PBS reported that the legislation would make more healthcare options available to millions of veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq who were exposed to toxic substances in the air during their service, regardless of their knowledge of any disability related to their time serving in the military.
Veterans who say they were exposed to various toxic burn pits while serving abroad say they've suffered from various ailments like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (bronchitis), cancer, or various respiratory conditions.
The VA says that trying to make veterans prove that their conditions were caused by their exposure would be too much work for the organization so the VA would consider veterans to have developed their illness due to exposure to toxic substances during their service.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to bring the bill back next week.
Watch Jon Stewart's full comments below (WARNING: Graphic language):