Jon Stewart was on Capitol Hill on Thursday to support the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, a bill that would dedicate funding to helping veterans dealing with illness caused by exposure to toxins in military burn pits. When a procedural vote on the bill fell five votes short of meeting the 60-vote Senate filibuster (the final vote was 55-42), Stewart appeared at a press conference to voice his frustrations. And the outspoken comedian did not mince words.
“Ain’t this a bitch,” Stewart said in front of the Capitol building. “America’s heroes, who fought in our wars, outside sweating their asses off with oxygen. Battling all kinds of ailments. While these motherfuckers sit in the air conditioning, walled off from any of it. They don’t have to hear it, they don’t have to see it, they don’t have to understand that these are human beings. Do you get it yet?”
Stewart frequently appears at the U.S. Capitol to speak about veterans’ issues (sometimes as an invited guest, other times in protest). The comedian recalled his years of activism and lamented that, while government bureaucracy is ineffective as ever, the system seems to gleefully become crueler with each passing year.
“The senate is where accountability goes to die. These people don’t care. They’re never losing their jobs, they’re never losing their healthcare,” he said. “I’m used to the lies, I’m used to the hypocrisy… I’m used to all of it, but I am not used to the cruelty.”
Much of Stewart’s ire was focused on one Senator in particular: Pat Toomey, a moderate republican who represents Pennsylvania and is preparing to retire after this term. Stewart blasted Toomey for refusing to meet with veterans personally, sending staff members instead. He also called Toomey’s objections to the bill hypocritical, as the senator voted against the bill due to a lack of caps on funding, yet he hasn’t called for caps on military spending.
“Congratulations @SenToomey. You successfully used the Byzantine Senate rules to keep sick veterans suffering!!!!,” Stewart tweeted on Thursday. “Kudos! I’m sure you’ll celebrate by kicking a dog or punching a baby…or whatever terrible people do for fun!!!!!”
In case anyone thought that Toomey was his only enemy, Stewart ended the Twitter thread with a concise message: “PS Fuck the R caucus and their empty promise to our veterans.”