Speed Reads

the problem with Congress

Jon Stewart delivers fiery speech against GOP's 'cruelty' toward veterans

Jon Stewart has a problem with Congress. 

The comedian on Thursday delivered another fiery speech slamming lawmakers' treatment of veterans, this time after Senate Republicans blocked a bill to expand healthcare coverage for veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits. The bill, the PACT Act, previously passed in the House, but a procedural vote to advance the latest version of it failed in the Senate on Wednesday. 

"I'm used to the lies," Stewart said in Washington, D.C. "I'm used to the hypocrisy. ... I'm used to all of it. But I am not used to the cruelty." 

Since leaving The Daily Show, Stewart has advocated for veterans' issues, and he devoted the first episode of his Apple TV+ show The Problem with Jon Stewart to the issue of toxic burn pits. When President Biden mentioned troops "breathing in toxic smoke from burn pits" during his State of the Union address, Stewart applauded the fact that "the president of the United States saw their struggle."

But in his Thursday remarks about Republicans blocking the PACT Act, Stewart blasted the Senate as a place where "accountability goes to die," expressing shock that the bill, which would ensure veterans "don't have to decide between their cancer drugs and their house," failed to move forward. He also called "bulls--t" on Republicans' argument that it would create a "slush fund."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) previously said he expects the bill to pass "in some form or another" but that Republicans want a "negotiation to eliminate some of the mandatory spending," CNN reports. But Stewart said veterans suffering from cancer "aren't on Senate time, they're on human time," noting the Senate is about to begin a recess. 

"If this is America first," Stewart added, "then America is f--ked."