Jon Stewart blasts inaction on veteran care needs: ‘When it’s time for war, we always have the money.’

(Video: Fox News)

Ahead of a Memorial Day weekend rally to promote legislative efforts to get veterans the care they need, comedian and advocate Jon Stewart decried the inaction of Congress noting how, “When it’s time for war, we always have the money.”

Earlier this week, Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced a new iteration of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act called the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022. Stewart joined Capt. Rafael Barbosa in appearing with Fox News host Bill Hemmer on “America’s Newsroom” Friday to discuss the more than 10-year struggle to address the serious health consequences of exposure to burn pits.

The Department of Veteran Affairs detailed that these pits used to eliminate waste ranging from paper products and refuse to excrement and body parts by burning them with jet fuel caused health problems for as many as 3.5 million veterans who are expected to prove their injuries were due to exposure. Hemmer also highlighted the exceedingly high suicide rate among veterans compared to non-veterans when he asked Stewart to expand upon the import of getting service members the care they need.

“You know it’s incredibly important. Look, there’s a very small percentage of Americans who bear the onus and brunt of America’s wars,” Stewart explained, “and it’s a tiny percentage and it’s the veterans and their families and oftentimes their caregivers, and, you know, out of sight, out of mind. When it’s time for war, we always have the money, man, get the credit card out, put down that $6 trillion to go to war for 20 years, and then we try and balance the budget on the backs of veterans as they’re coming home to reintegrate and assimilate and deal with all the health problems.”

Barbosa, who served as a pilot in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, explained that as a pilot in Iraq, “the burn pit was literally on the approach end to the runway. So as we were coming home from a mission, we could literally tell where the airfield was by the burn pit in our FLIR camera.” Now suffering from stage-4 colon cancer, Barbosa went on to explain that the situation in Afghanistan was even more “archaic” by comparison.

Stewart has frequently called out lawmakers for their claims of wanting to support the veterans who contend, “But we wanna do it the right way. We wanna be responsible.”

To that he has suggested, “You know what would have been nice? If they had been responsible 20 years ago and hadn’t spent trillions of dollars on overseas adventures. If they had been responsible and hadn’t spent billions of dollars for defense contractors to poison our own troops.”

The comedian went on to state on Fox News, “The burdens of that reintegration, the burdens of fighting your own government, that you had just recently, you know, sacrificed to protect and defend, also leads to a lot of the mental health stresses, it leads to the financial stresses – the PACT Act doesn’t solve all their problems, but it removes at least some of the burden and obstacle and it starts to switch the burden of proof back to the government as opposed to the veteran.”

A previous iteration of the PACT Act had stalled in Congress after making its way through committee in June 2021 only to be stalled for a vote until the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed it in March of this year. The new bipartisan measure which Stewart said was “six to eight senators away” from passing, would have to return to the House for another vote before President Joe Biden could sign it into law.


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