Comedian Jon Stewart doubled down Friday on a viral rant ripping Republican senators who voted against advancing a bill that would boost benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins from burn pits during their service in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Forty-one Republican senators voted against cloture Wednesday on the Honoring our PACT Act, accusing Democrats of using the measure to hide a “budget gimmick” that would permit $400 billion in spending unrelated to veterans’ health care.
During an interview with Fox News Friday, the former “Daily Show” host insisted the bill was no different from the version that passed the Senate 84-14 in June.
“This bill is purely based on toxic exposure health care and benefits to veterans,” said Stewart, who urged viewers to look up the text for themselves.
“Not one word has been added to it … Hunter Biden didn’t sneak in and add in unrelated spending in the middle of the night,” he continued. “This bill is exactly as it was with the removal of one sentence that had to do with taxation and rural medical facilities.”
Stewart was responding to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who voted against cloture Wednesday, but promised the outlet the bill would pass “eventually.”
“Eventually is not okay,” Stewart hit back. “Tell someone with cancer that’s been fighting this for years, that eventually they’ll get the help that they need. That is not an acceptable answer.”
“It is despicable to continue to use Americans, men and women who are fighting for this country, as a political cause for anger you have about separate issues,” he added.
On Thursday, Stewart called out Toomey and fellow Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), accusing them of “cruelty” and pointing out that a day before the vote, Scott had tweeted out photos of himself making care packages for service members.
“I’m used to the hypocrisy,” Stewart told reporters outside the Capitol, adding that he was also used to “lies” and “cowardice” from members of Congress.
“I’m used to all of it, but I am not used to the cruelty,” he said.
Stewart accused Toomey of not wanting to meet with veterans groups and called the Pennsylvanian a “f—king coward.”
“Pat Toomey claims that he has veteran groups behind him. I call bulls—. These are the veterans groups,” he said, gesturing to the former service members standing with him. “They’re all here. This is the veterans community, senator. They don’t stand behind you.”
“This is an embarrassment to the Senate, to the country, to the founders and all that they profess and hold dear,” Stewart went on. “And if this is America first, then America is f—d.”
While the Senate initially passed the PACT Act last month, they have to approve it again after the House passed minor changes July 13.
Eight Republicans joined 47 Democrats in supporting cloture Wednesday: John Boozman of Arkansas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jerry Moran of Kansas, and Marco Rubio of Florida. Another Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, did not vote.
The legislation would make millions of post-9/11 veterans who were exposed to toxins while in the military and are now suffering from respiratory illnesses or cancer eligible for VA health care.
“Senator Rick Scott was proud to support the passage of this important bill in the Senate previously and will support its final passage soon,” Scott’s office told The Post.
“Unfortunately, Democrats caused an unnecessary delay of this important bill’s passage by inserting a budget gimmick in the text that warranted further discussion. Senator Scott is working with his colleagues to ensure this is resolved quickly so we can provide our nation’s veterans the care they need.”
Toomey’s office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.