Jon Stewart blasts GOP Senators for blocking Veterans' Health Legislation
Republican Senators sparked fury for fist bumping to celebrate blocking a bill to expand healthcare for military veterans exposed to toxins.
The nauseating move occurred on Wednesday night (27 July) after the Senate failed to pass a Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act in a 55 to 42 vote.
All but one who voted against the bill were Republican, including 25 members who had previously supported it in June.
Following the vote, a group of Republicans could be seen liaising and shaking hands. Two of them were also spotted giving each other a fist bump.
Clips of the Senators have since circulated across Twitter.
Disabled Veteran and advocate Ted Corcoran posted the footage along with the tweet: "Fist bumps and handshakes as Senate Republicans block health care for 3.5 million burn pit, Agent Orange, PFAS, nuclear exposure, and contaminated water veterans.
"They celebrate as veterans make funeral arrangements."
\u201cFist bumps and handshakes as Senate Republicans block health care for 3.5 million burn pit, Agent Orange, PFAS, nuclear exposure, and contaminated water veterans.\n\nThey celebrate as veterans make funeral arrangements.\n\nhttps://t.co/UQXi2y7EjY\u201d
Fellow Twitter users couldn't believe the audacity and slammed the sickening gesture.
"I don’t want to hear one word about how they love our veterans," one said. "This is ridiculous."
Another added: "I'm a disabled Vet and have watched the Republications talk out one side of their mouth about how much they love and support the military and vets, yet their actions have shown they believe the opposite."
"I’m lost," a third tweeted. "Why would they celebrate? These veterans are ill and dying."
Others took to the platform with harrowing stories of their own:
\u201c@RedTRaccoon I won\u2019t quit fighting. Our vets deserve to be taken care of. This is me and my best friend. He died of pancreatic cancer caused by exposure to #AgentOrange \n#PACTAct\u201d
\u201c@RedTRaccoon My father-in-law was a Vietnam veteran. He dealt with a variety of health problems for years that stemmed from his exposure to Agent Orange. He died March 1.\n\nOur veterans deserve better.\u201d
\u201c@RedTRaccoon I watch this just after talking to my brother. His bff is a blue water Vietnam vet and has been sick for years. Now at just 70 he can\u2019t even get out of the house onto his porch. No help from the politicians who sent him to war at 18.\u201d
\u201cI lived and eventually worked at a Veterans Home in Washington State. Many of the residents there suffer from exposure to toxic chemicals such as Agent Orange. This double-cross by the Republicans is a gut punch to our heroes.\n\nThanks for sticking up for us Jon!\u201d
— The Deer Whisperer \ud83e\udd8c (@The Deer Whisperer \ud83e\udd8c)
\u201cMy dad\u2019s liver cancer was a direct result of his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. He had to fight for decades to finally get 100% service connected for his ailments. That previous & current vets will continue to suffer b/c of Pat Toomey & Republican bullshit is evil.\u201d
— Alex \ud83e\udd8b\u2694\ufe0f\ud83d\udc9a (@Alex \ud83e\udd8b\u2694\ufe0f\ud83d\udc9a)
More Democratic veterans, lawmakers and advocates have since expressed their outrage. Comedian and TV host Jon Stewart lashed out against the decision at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
He said: "Ain’t this a b*tch? America’s heroes, who fought in our wars, outside sweating their asses off, while these mother-f***ers sit in the air conditioning, walled off from any of it."
Pointing to the Senate side of the Capitol, Stewart added: "If this is America First, then America is F***d."
Over three million service members and veterans are believed to have been exposed to burn pits and toxins during their service, according to the Veterans Affairs (VA).
In the last six months, President Joe Biden has made tackling the issue of burn pits a higher priority, saying he believes his son Beau Biden may have died as a result of toxin exposure.
Biden has repeatedly urged lawmakers in the House and Senate to pass legislation to support veterans.
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