'I've been waiting for this day'
Comedian Jon Stewart expressed hope on Wednesday that there will be progress on helping veterans exposed to toxic burn pits after the issue was mentioned during President Biden's State of the Union.
During his State of the Union address, Biden discussed the dangers troops in Iraq and Afghanistan face, including "breathing in toxic smoke from burn pits," and he suggested this may have been the reason his son, Beau Biden, died from brain cancer. Stewart has pushed for Congress to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, delving into the issue during the first episode of his Apple show The Problem with Jon Stewart.
On Wednesday, Stewart was in Washington to advocate for a bill to provide health care benefits for these veterans, which Biden has backed, and in a press conference, the former Daily Show host celebrated the issue being mentioned by the president.
"Last night, they were seen," Stewart said. "The president of the United States saw their struggle."
Stewart also said he could feel the "hope" that there will be progress on the issue. "I've been waiting for this day," he said, adding that the obstacles these veterans have faced for years "are starting to clear." He added, though, that the Senate is "excellent at killing things that are necessary," and he slammed a proposed amendment from Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) that would alter the text of the bill to that of another bill that "expands health care eligibility for veterans exposed to toxic substances from five years after separation to 10 years," according to The Hill.
"F--k that," Stewart said. "Not happening. They get what they deserve: the comprehensive bill that addresses the urgent need in their community."
Commentators praised Stewart for his continued advocacy of the issue after its mention during the State of the Union, with Breaking Points host Saagar Enjeti tweeting, "It would not have happened without you."