The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, or PACT Act is “a comprehensive bill to address the health impacts of those who served overseas and were exposed to toxic hazards, such as burn pits, radiation, and Agent Orange. It offers expanded VA health care eligibility for many veterans who were not previously covered by VA care.” This week, Jon Stewart spoke out, passionately, about his frustration and anger that the bill did not get passed.
Veterans gathered in DC last week, to celebrate the passing of the PACT Act, which passed in the Senate in June by a vote of 84-14. However, a technical error required another vote and this time, 25 Republican Senators changed their minds, upsetting a lot of military veterans…and Jon Stewart.
The Senators who changed their vote from yea to nay are Sens. John Barrasso, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, Mike Braun, Bill Cassidy, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, Kevin Cramer, Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Bill Hagerty, Josh Hawley, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Jim Inhofe, Ron Johnson, John Kennedy, Roger Marshall, Mitch McConnell, Rob Portman, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott, Rick Scott, Dan Sullivan and Todd Young. Sens. Additionally, Sens. Steve Daines and Roger Wicker voted against the bill after not voting in June.
Here is what Jon Stewart had to say about what happened:
A video circulated soon after the bill was voted down, showing Senators, including Ted Cruz, fist-bumping,allegedly in celebration of the bill not passing:
Senator Ted Cruz responded to Jon Stewart, explaining to him and others why he and other Republican Senators are not able to support the bill as written: and it’s because of Democrat trickery. He says, in part, “.@jonstewart you’re wrong here. The bill gives a $400B blank check—separate from vets care—for unrelated pork that will supercharge inflation. I support the PACT Act & the $679.4B it would dedicate to vets. It’s ppl trying to use PACT to shovel more pork who are exploiting vets.”
In his speech, Stewart went after Senator Toomey, who voted no on the bill both times. Toomey and other Republicans have valid concerns, however. This tweet explains: “Thread: This is why I hate politics these days. Toomey supports the underlying bill. As do most R Senators. There was a line in the bill that changes discretionary spending to mandatory spending so it would not need to be reauthorized and could be spent for other purposes.”
But then Jon Stewart responded to Cruz, tweeting this:
Jon Stewart’s heart is in the right place, but is he placing blame in the wrong place? Cruz says Democrats are trying to sneak a line into the bill that would allow them to spend money that our government has no business spending, with inflation worse than it’s been in decades. Stewart says that’s not true. Is Cruz telling the truth? Why did he vote yes, then change his mind, along with all the others who changed their minds, too?