“We always have money for war. We never have money for the war fighter.”
Jon Stewart’s on Capitol Hill again, the week after the public learned about a 9/11 program (that he championed) being siphoned by the Trump Administration. In that regard, he spent part of 2019 emotionally ripping into members of Congress when they failed to show up for hearings about 9/11 first-responder health care. He later stood alongside first-responder advocates when the U.S. Senate voted to renew permanent authorization of September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Now, he’s leading a renewed fight for federal benefits to help war fighters exposed to toxic burn pit fumes.
Stewart hopes to secure this aid by supporting a bill (sponsored by Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand) aimed toward U.S. troops who were exposed to toxic pits (portions of a military base that include open-air waste burning that’s accelerated by jet fuel) during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These vets are now suffering with conditions that include cancer, pulmonary disease, and asthma, and Stewart is angry that help hasn’t happened yet because time is of the essence. “Welcome to another exciting episode of ‘When is America going to start acting like the great country we keep telling ourselves we are?'” he declared. “Our veterans lived 24/7 next to toxic smoke… It’s bullsh*t.”
Jon Stewart introduces bill for sick veterans: ’Welcome to another exciting episode of ‘When is America going to start acting like the great country we keep telling ourselves we are?’ … Our veterans lived 24/7 next to toxic smoke … It’s bullsh*t.’ pic.twitter.com/uwI0vbC8VX
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 15, 2020
During the above news conference, Stewart made reference to his previous battle for the 9/11 compensation fund for first responders. He believes that history is now repeating itself, and he believes that Congress has the duty to remain accountable for veterans’ health, including when they responded to the 9/11 attack on behalf of the U.S.
“When it was done, we thought it was done,” Stewart continued. “But it turns out that the warfighters that were sent to prosecute the battle based on the attack on 9/11 now suffer the same injuries and illnesses that the first responders suffer from, and they’re getting the same cold shoulder from Congress that they received. And so the fight starts again.”