Republicans “haven’t met a war they won’t sign up for and they haven’t met a veteran they won’t screw over.”
This statement was made by comedian Jon Stewart just after the GOP blocked the PACT Act, a bill designed to help toxin-exposed veterans, a bill that passed a procedural vote just a couple days ago by a count of 84-14.
The GOP’s sudden reversal on the bill came by way of party leadership, specifically Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who is upset that Democrats have reached an agreement on a reconciliation bill that McConnell thought he had successfully torpedoed.
Democrats pulled a fast one to help American families, so McConnell had a bit of a tantrum in which he decided to throw our veterans right under the bus.
When Senate Republicans killed the veteran’s health care measure, they even managed a bit of a celebration.
Stewart, a longtime advocate for first responders and veterans, was in DC to celebrate what everyone knew would be the passage of the PACT Act. When the GOP decided to once again turn veterans’ health into a political football, Stewart reserved some of his harshest criticism for Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey:
“The Senate’s where accountability goes to die,” Stewart said. “These people don’t care. They’re never losing their jobs. They’re never losing their health care. Pat Toomey didn’t lose his job. He’s walking away. God knows what kind of pot of gold he’s stepping into to lobby this government to s— on more people.”
“Patriot Pat Toomey stood on the floor and said, ‘This is a slush fund,’” he added. “‘They’re gonna use $400 billion to spend on whatever they want.’ That’s nonsense. I call bulls—. This isn’t a slush fund.”
Most believe that Senate Republicans’ latest childishness will not stop passage of the bill, but only delay it. But the reality is that some veterans will not live through that delay.
“Their constituents are dying. And they’re gonna get it done after recess? You don’t — tell their cancer to take a recess, tell their cancer to stay home and go visit their families.”
Toomey refused to answer Stewart’s criticism, saying “That’s not worth responding to.” He also denied that votes against the bill had anything to do with Democrats reaching a deal on a reconciliation package.
But when a bill that passes 84-14 one day gets defeated just a few days later, and no substantive changes to the bill were made, it’s hard to argue that it’s anything other than a revenge play.
And this revenge play looks like it’s going to backfire in a big way.