Actor Jon Stewart lashed out Friday at Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and other Republicans for blocking the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act while speaking on MSNBC.
The PACT Act would expand healthcare coverage for veterans who were exposed to toxins and burn pits while serving. The House passed the PACT Act after the Senate passed the legislation, but the legislation failed to get past the Senate a second time after changes were made.
“My concern about this bill has nothing to do with the purpose of the bill,” Toomey said. “This budgetary gimmick is so unrelated to the actual veterans issues that has to do with burn pits, that it’s not even in the House version of this bill.”
There is a line in the legislation that changes discretionary spending to mandatory spending, which means the bill would not need to be reauthorized and the funds could be spent for other purposes. Toomey said Wednesday night the fix was “simple” and would “not reduce spending on veterans.”
“It’s wrong to use a veterans bill to hide an unrelated slush fund,” Toomey added in the tweet.
Other opponents of the legislation argue it could grant disability and health benefits to veterans whose conditions do not have anything to do with their military service, which could overwhelm the VA system, according to PBS News.
Several other Republicans, including Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, voted ‘no’ on the legislation, sparking backlash from Stewart, who called Toomey a “consistent dick.”
Stewart said claims from Republicans that the PACT Act was a “budgetary gimmick” are “nonsense” because the way the legislation is being paid for did not change with the alterations made by the House. (RELATED: Jon Stewart Says Considering ‘The Sh*theads’ Who Are In Office, He’s Definitely Thought About Running)
“This is nonsense, and, you know, Ted Cruz said the same thing yesterday: ‘this is a budgetary gimmick’…or as it’s also known: how they paid for the bill,” Stewart said. “The only change that the House made was a constitutional issue. It was one sentence.”
“Did Ted Cruz and all those other Republicans who voted ‘yes’ on this bill and then switched their vote to ‘no’ — was that the provision of how the bill was paid for when they voted yes? Now, Toomey, on the other hand, he’s been against this all along. So at least he’s been a consistent dick, but that’s not — this is nothing new…The fix in the House was a tiny constitutional provision,” Stewart continued.
Cruz’ spokesperson told the Daily Caller that Cruz is a “strong supporter of the PACT Act and our nation’s veterans.”
“However, this version of the PACT Act contains an irresponsible Democratic provision allowing Congress to recklessly spend an additional $400 billion on programs totally unrelated to our veterans. The Senator and his Republican colleagues are working to advance this bill while removing that provision,” the spokesperson said. “Democrats were aware of this concern before yesterday’s vote but ignored it and refused to allow a vote to fix the bill. That refusal is why the bill is currently stalled.”