Jon Stewart joins lawmakers including Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Capitol Hill to fight for three million veterans exposed to fire pits while serving abroad
- Jon Stewart returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would make it easier for veterans exposed to burning pits to get benefits
- Stewart joined lawmakers, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate alongside Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- Stewart pointed out that ‘it may not be healthy to burn everything in sight, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, next to where you sleep’
- The US military used open-air fire pits to clean up trash in Iraq and Afghanistan
- President Joe Biden has publicly said he suspects his son Beau Biden’s deadly cancer was caused by exposure to burns
- The White House has yet to say whether Biden will support the legislation, which has bipartisan and bicameral support
- Stewart was involved in similar legislative battles – and won, helping 9/11 aid workers get funding for their Victim Compensation Fund in 2019
Former ‘Daily Show’ presenter Jon Stewart added a bit of star power to an effort on Capitol Hill to help veterans exposed to burning wells gain government benefits more easily.
On Tuesday, Stewart met with lawmakers and activists to push for the passage of legislation that eases the burden on veterans to prove there is a direct link between their time on duty and an illness they have suffered since.
‘But damn it, for those who fought, defended and served this country. If they come home and have to fight the government they voluntarily defend is immoral, unscrupulous and easily remedied, ” Stewart said.
Former ‘Daily Show’ presenter Jon Stewart returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would make it easier for veterans exposed to burning wells to get benefits
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is a sponsor of the legislation, which has bicameral and bipartisan support
The US military used open-air fire pits to clean up trash in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They don’t need any other research to determine if it might not be that healthy to burn everything in sight, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in addition to where you sleep,” the comedia continued. “We know because you can’t do it in the United States of America.”
The bill has bipartisan and bicameral support.
In the Senate, it is defended by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. In the House, the main sponsors are Reps. Raul Ruiz, a California Republican and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican.
Gillibrand and Rubio rolled out the bill in the Senate in late March, though the White House has yet to say whether President Joe Biden will support it.
“I did not go into the details of the bill,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing when asked about the Senate legislation.
She noted, as the reporter noted, that Biden had spoken about the matter in the past.
Biden linked the cancer deaths of his son Beau Biden in 2015 to exposure to chemicals while on duty in Iraq.
In a 2019 speech, Biden said with Beau’s “ exposure to fire pits, in my opinion I can’t prove it yet, he came back with stage 4 glioblastoma. ”
Under current law, a veteran suffering from an illness or disability must document a direct link between his or her service and the illness in order to qualify for the Veterans Affairs benefit.
For veterans exposed to fire pits, this means they must provide medical evidence of current illness or disability, provide personal or other evidence of physical presence near a specific fire pit or exposure to specific poisons or substances, and evidence providing a link between disability or illness and exposure, ”said a press release on legislation from the Gillibrand office.
Stewart has been involved in similar legislative battles – and has won.
Stewart was active in getting Congress and former President Donald Trump to re-authorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund in 2019.
Thousands of 9/11 emergency responders and residents of New York fell ill from toxins linked to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and developed cancer. The money made sure that their families were taken care of.
Stewart the famous congress during a hearing in June 2019, when only five members of the subcommittee showed up to hear testimony from Luis Alvarez, a former New York City detective so sick with 9/11-related cancer that he died weeks later.
“Sitting here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the whole process of getting health care and benefits for emergency responders on 9/11,” Stewart said. “Behind me a full house with 9/11 first responders and in front of me an almost empty conference.”
“Sick and dying, they brought themselves here not to talk to anyone,” he continued. ‘Shameful.’
“It’s a shame on the country and a blot on this institution and you should be ashamed of those who aren’t there, but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t seem to be something that occurs in this room,” Stewart said.