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Jon Stewart furious after Republicans block veterans’ healthcare bill

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Democrats and veterans groups are furious with Republicans who blocked a bill to help veterans suffering from cancer. The PACT Act funds treatments for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Afghanistan, including those who did not enroll to receive VA care and those who can’t prove their cancer came from burn pits.

“What the hell. How does this happen? How do you change your mind right when you’re about to make a law that’s going to save lives. It makes no sense. It’s an outrage,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said.

Last month, 34 Republicans voted to approve the bill. But Wednesday, 26 of those Republicans opposed the measure. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who previously opposed the bill for budgetary and accounting objections, explained why he moved to block the bill. He said it contains $400 billion in unrelated spending.

“This budgetary gimmick is so unrelated to the actual veterans issue that has to do with burn pits that it’s not even in the House version of this bill. The fact is we could fix this tonight. This is a relatively easy fix,” Toomey said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

A press conference featuring comedian and veterans advocate Jon Stewart was originally scheduled to be a celebration of the PACT Act’s final approval. Instead it became a call to action.

“Senate’s where accountability goes to die. These people aren’t losing their jobs, they’re not losing their healthcare,” Stewart said. “Patriot Pat Toomey said this is a slush fund. They’re going to use $400 billion to spend on whatever they want. That’s nonsense.”

Stewart also said there was no unrelated funding in the bill. Rather, he said the disagreement is regarding discretionary versus mandatory spending.

Toomey said if non-veteran measures in the bill are removed, it will sail through the Senate with strong bipartisan support. There were also indications that the bill would still pass at some point, it will just take longer. But the family members of veterans who were on Capitol Hill Thursday said their loved ones battling cancer don’t have any time left to wait.

The bill includes over a billion dollars in funding for veterans’ care. There is a $500,000,000 Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund, and nearly $1 billion for leasing outpatient medical facilities in towns across the country.

There are also measures to provide care to veterans who were exposed to other military related hazards. For instance, it will allow anyone who was exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, between 1953 and 1987 to seek relief in court for harm suffered, but veterans cannot receive punitive damages. There were contaminants in the water that have been shown to cause certain diseases including cancer and Parkinsons.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – D-NY says: “What the hell. How does this happen? How do you change your mind right when your about to make a law that’s going to save lives. It makes no sense. It’s an outrage.” 

Democrats and veterans groups are furious with Republicans who blocked a bill to help veterans suffering from cancer. The PACT Act funds treatments for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Afghanistan, including those who did not enroll to receive VA care and those who can’t prove their cancer came from burn pits. Last month, 34 republicans voted to approve the bill. But Wednesday, 26 of those Republicans opposed the measure.  

Senator Pat Toomey, who previously opposed the bill for budgetary and accounting objections, explained why he moved to block the bill. He said it contains 400 billion dollars in unrelated spending. 

SEN PAT TOOMEY – R-PA says: “This budgetary gimmick is so unrelated to the actual veterans issue that has to do with burn pits that it’s not even in the house version of this bill. The fact is we could fix this tonight. This is a relatively easy fix.”

A press conference featuring comedian and veterans advocate Jon Stewart was originally scheduled to be a celebration of the PACT act’s final approval. Instead it became a call to action. 

JON STEWART says: Senate’s where accountability goes to die. These people aren’t losing their jobs, they’re not losing their healthcare. // 1131 Patriot Pat Toomey said this is a slush fund. They’re going to spend 400 billion dollars to spend on whatever they want. That’s nonsense. 

Senator Toomey says if non-veteran measures in the bill are removed, it will sail through the senate with strong bipartisan support. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan. 

Democrats and veterans groups are furious with Republicans who blocked a bill to help veterans suffering from cancer. The PACT Act funds treatments for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Afghanistan, including those who did not enroll to receive VA care and those who can’t prove their cancer came from burn pits.

“What the hell. How does this happen? How do you change your mind right when you’re about to make a law that’s going to save lives. It makes no sense. It’s an outrage,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said.

Last month, 34 Republicans voted to approve the bill. But Wednesday, 26 of those Republicans opposed the measure. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who previously opposed the bill for budgetary and accounting objections, explained why he moved to block the bill. He said it contains $400 billion in unrelated spending.

“This budgetary gimmick is so unrelated to the actual veterans issue that has to do with burn pits that it’s not even in the House version of this bill. The fact is we could fix this tonight. This is a relatively easy fix,” Toomey said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

A press conference featuring comedian and veterans advocate Jon Stewart was originally scheduled to be a celebration of the PACT Act’s final approval. Instead it became a call to action.

“Senate’s where accountability goes to die. These people aren’t losing their jobs, they’re not losing their healthcare,” Stewart said. “Patriot Pat Toomey said this is a slush fund. They’re going to use $400 billion to spend on whatever they want. That’s nonsense.”

Stewart also said there was no unrelated funding in the bill. Rather, he said the disagreement is regarding discretionary versus mandatory spending.

Toomey said if non-veteran measures in the bill are removed, it will sail through the Senate with strong bipartisan support. There were also indications that the bill would still pass at some point, it will just take longer. But the family members of veterans who were on Capitol Hill Thursday said their loved ones battling cancer don’t have any time left to wait.

The bill includes over a billion dollars in funding for veterans’ care. There is a $500,000,000 Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund, and nearly $1 billion for leasing outpatient medical facilities in towns across the country.

There are also measures to provide care to veterans who were exposed to other military related hazards. For instance, it will allow anyone who was exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, between 1953 and 1987 to seek relief in court for harm suffered, but veterans cannot receive punitive damages. There were contaminants in the water that have been shown to cause certain diseases including cancer and Parkinsons.

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