Jon Stewart is on a mission to pass the PACT Act, legislation that would expand healthcare for veterans exposed to toxins that are commonly found in burn pits, and he’s been relentlessly trolling Sen. Ted Cruz for the senator’s newfound opposition to the bill that he voted for in June.
On Friday, Stewart made a video calling Cruz’s reasons for opposing the bill “inaccurate, not true, bullshit!” (Cruz has said that Democrats are pulling a “budgetary trick” — a claim Stewart and the party deny.) Appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday, Stewart continued his campaign to dunk on Cruz for his flimsy excuses for changing his mind about the bill.
“He didn’t say anything,” Stewart told host Chuck Todd of Cruz’s excuses for pulling his support. “He can’t point to anything specific that was changed. They all just got this mumbo jumbo about a budgetary gimmick, but nothing changed. This isn’t my opinion. It is on congress.gov. The text of the bill they voted for June 14th is the same bill.”
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Meet the Press then played a video of Cruz being interviewed in an airport. “The Democrats played a budgetary trick, which is they took $400 billion in discretionary spending and they shifted it to mandatory,” Cruz said. “The reason they did that is they want to spend $400 billion more discretionary funds on completely unrelated matters, so it is just part of the out of control spending from the left.”
“Before I get you to respond,” Todd told Stewart, “The unrelated matters [claim] is just not true. This money, even when you create the bigger pool, still only could be spent on veterans. But anyway, go ahead.”
“That’s correct,” Stewart said. “The difference between mandatory and discretionary is… that’s just a word salad that he’s spewing into his coffee cup on his way to God knows where as veterans sit in Washington, D.C. and the sweltering heat, demanding that they pass this legislation that they have been fighting for, for 15 years.”
Veterans affected by burn pits have camped out on the Capitol steps in protest. The bill would provide billions in spending over the next 10 years and would provide coverage to veterans suffering from 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers linked to smoke from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as coverage for veterans exposed to radiation and Agent Orange during other conflicts.
“Look, anybody can say anything, you know,” Stewart said of Cruz’s excuses. “We can say Elvis Presley is still alive, but at some point we all have to live in reality, and what he is saying is just factually incorrect. The bill that Ted Cruz voted yes on had the exact same funding provisions as the bill he voted no on. It is the exact same bill. None of this makes any sense.”
Asked if he thought the sudden Republican opposition was related to Democrats’ recent progress earning Sen. Joe Manchin’s public support for legislation combatting climate change, Stewart said, “I mean, honestly, I have no idea. I’m not up there. I’m watching it from the outside, so I don’t know why they did it. But I do know this: The explanations that they’ve given thus far are scattershot, they’re all over the place, and none of them make any sense.”
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