House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democrats, comedian and activist Jon Stewart, a great many Americans, and me, all over Twitter, railed against a group of Senate Republicans who voted against legislation to help veterans suffering from ailments related to toxic burn pits.
The PACT Act, which the House passed earlier this month, would enable additional healthcare coverage for more than three million veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits and Vietnam-era veterans exposed to the deadly herbicide Agent Orange. The House passed the PACT Act by a 342-88 vote about a month after the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 84-14. But this week the Senate had to retake the bill up because the House passed some minor changes in its version, and that’s when Republicans held out their middle finger to our vets..
We send these men and women off to wear to fight and when they come home, we, well, the GOP mostly, turn our back on them, as Jon Stewart pointed out:
"So ain't this a bitch? America's heroes, who fought our wars, outside sweating their asses off, with oxygen battling all kinds of ailments, while these motherf**kers 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. Did you get it yet? [If] this is America First, then America is f**ked. … I'm used to lies. I'm used to hypocrisy. I'm used to their cowardice. I'm not used to the cruelty, the casual cruelty ... a bill they had fought for, for more than a decade."
Stewart lays a great deal of blame at, who else but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who, he says, lied to veterans by saying "we'll get it done" and then voting against the bill. He also criticized Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican retiring at the end of his term:
"Pat Toomey didn't lose his job. He's walking away. God knows what kind of pot of gold he's stepping into to lobby this government to shit on more people. I'm used to all of it, but I'm not used to the cruelty. Senator Toomey is not going to hear that because he won't sit down with [Veterans] because he is a f**king coward. You hear me? None of them will hear it. And none of them will care. What just makes the gut punch that much more devastating is that these people all came down here so that they could finally tell the men and”—Stewart started to tear up—"Their constituents are dying. And they're gonna get it done after recess? You don't … tell their cancer to take a recess, tell their cancer to stay home and go visit their families."
Stewart apologized for his foul language, but then outlined what the senators were voting against, with a veteran saying the bill "gives them health care, gives them benefits, lets them live from become an addict, keeps veterans from committing suicide."
It’s that simple.
Pat Toomey declined to comment on Stewart's earlier criticism, saying:
"That's not worth responding to."
Veterans’ healthcare being denied is not worth responding to, because Toomey is leaving his cushy job and literally does not give a fuck; this whole ‘No’ vote was a slap to veterans because the GOP did not want to give Biden, via the Democrats, a win, as you could see when Republicans stood in the Senate chamber and fist-bumped denying healthcare to our veterans; they cheered.
It’s clear, as I Tweeted out over the weekend, remembering the GOIP cheering the end of Roe v Wade, the GOP refusing to acknowledge the heroic efforts by DC and Capitol Police on 1/6, and many in the GOP vowing to end marriage equality:
They spit in the faces of heroes and women and the LGBTQ+ community, and children being slaughtered in schools. What will it take for some of you to see that the GOP doesn’t represent We The People, doesn’t stand for this country?
They represent only their own interests, their own bank accounts, and their own party,
November is coming … CAST A GODDAMNED VOTE.
PS In addition to voting against veterans, women and the LGBTQ+ community, they also voted against codifying same-sex marriage, and interracial marriage, into law, voted against contraception, and voted against sending out Amber Alerts when there's an active shooter.