Jon Stewart tears up Ted Cruz, GOP for opposing a regulation serving to veterans uncovered to cremation pits
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In the days since Senate Republicans blocked a bill to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jon Stewart has been furious with the GOP for opposing a measure that initially sailed through the chamber was. Stewart, a leading advocate for helping veterans, addressed conservative audiences on Fox News and Newsmax this week to call out Republican senators for what the comedian has called “a disgrace.”
When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said Stewart was wrong about the bill, accusing Democrats of playing a “budget trick” in the PACT bill, which Cruz voted against, though he said he supported the bill and the veterans, Stewart was ‘I don’t have it.
“What Ted Cruz describes is inaccurate, isn’t it, cop—-” Stewart said in a video posted to Twitter.
Stewart mocked Cruz for arguing that Democrats had moved “discretionary” spending to “mandatory” in the bill. Cruz pointed to the fiscal dispute, first raised this month by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), who objected to the way the law accounts for about $400 billion of pre-existing ones would change veterans’ spending to avoid subjecting it to annual appropriations from Congress. Cruz was seen in the Senate punching Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) as Republicans blocked the bill in a celebration that angered Democrats and veterans’ groups.
Stewart and the Democrats have refuted the Republicans’ claims, and the comedian challenged Cruz on Twitter to specifically reference the $400 billion “blank check or unrelated expenses added/smuggled in” in the bill.
“Well, I’m not a Harvard-educated big-city lawyer, but I can read,” Stewart said in a mockingly bad Southern accent. “It’s always been mandatory spending, so the government can’t just cut its funding at any point. No trick, no gimmick, was there the whole… time.”
A Stewart representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday. When asked for comment, Cruz spokesman Steve Guest directed the Washington Post to the senator’s video posted to Twitter Friday night.
“Jon, you’re a fun guy and I appreciate your advocacy on public policy issues. That’s a good thing,” Cruz said, claiming he is a strong supporter of the bill and the nation’s veterans. “But when you do that, the facts count.”
Senate Republicans are blocking a bill to help veterans facing cremation pits
The back-and-forth comes over a veterans’ health care bill that previously had bipartisan support. The PACT Act would significantly change the way the Department of Veterans Affairs treats veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances by forcing VA to assume that certain diseases are related to exposure to hazardous waste incineration, with the Focus mainly on the issue of burn pits from recent wars Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would take the burden of proof off injured veterans.
But weeks after a version of the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 84 to 14 on June 16, the law met a different fate shortly after the House of Representatives made modest changes. Toomey claimed that the PACT Act authorizes $280 billion in new mandatory spending – not subject to annual appropriations – and also converts the previous $400 billion in approvals from discretionary to mandatory. The senator argued last month that the provision was a budget “gimmick” that could allow for massive amounts of new appropriated spending — a claim Democrats have dismissed.
On Wednesday, 25 Republicans reversed course from their vote just a month earlier. The final vote was 55 to 42, falling short of the 60 votes required to overcome the filibuster. Three senators abstained.
Among Republicans who changed course was Cruz, whose fist bump with Daines drew backlash from Liberals when it went viral on social media.
That’s the punch everyone needs to be talking about.
Ted Cruz and other Republicans celebrate after blocking a bill to help toxin-exposed veterans survive. pic.twitter.com/wJvRseE7B4
— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) July 29, 2022
Democrats have accused Republicans of voting against the bill in retaliation for a deal announced by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.). , allowing Democrats to advance economic, health and climate packages without Republican votes.
Stewart, who described the way Republicans rejected the measure as a “gut punch,” was in a media blitz this week on channels including CNN, Fox News and Newsmax, blasting the 25 GOP senators for their change of heart on the bill torn. He took aim at Cruz during an appearance on MSNBC on Friday.
“The most despicable part of this whole thing is watching Ted Cruz in the Senate bang his fist and then slap each other on the back when they blocked this bill,” Stewart said. He added that Toomey and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) “celebrated their victory over veterans with cancer.”
Later that day, Cruz was approached by TMZ at Reagan National Airport about Stewart’s comments.
“He’s talking about the PACT bill, which I support. It’s a bill that most senators support,” Cruz told the outlet. After pointing out the budget “gimmick” cited by Toomey, Cruz said the bill was “part of the left’s runaway spending.”
In his explosive-laden video on Twitter, Stewart angered Cruz and Republicans for suggesting the language of Democrats “or spending fairies” was included in the bill.
“That’s nonsense,” Stewart said. “There is nothing in the bill that does not relate to veterans’ expenses. … This is for veterans who have suffered health effects from burn pits and other toxins. That’s it!”
Cruz again cited Toomey’s concerns in a video of his own, accusing Democrats of changing the law with “pork that will fuel inflation.”
“You’re wrong here,” Cruz said in a tweet to Stewart.
Fox News’ Jesse Watters joined Cruz in criticizing Stewart for what the host described as “gaunted drama.”
“I’m not going to blame Jon for not having all the facts,” Watters said on his Friday show. “Let’s do the following in the future: I’ll do the research and Jon Stewart can do the farming. It’s better for everyone that way.”
Stewart tweeted that Cruz and Watters were “trying to mobilize the forces of misinformation to try and kill more vets.” He again urged the Texas senator to “pass the bill that you had already passed.”
“This is not a game,” Stewart wrote. “Real people’s lives are at stake… people who have been fighting for your life.”
Eugene Scott and Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.