Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart certainly got under Republican Senator Pat Toomey’s skin while shaming Republicans for blocking the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act last week.
Stewart made a lot of noise on Capitol Hill and network talk shows last week, after the measure, which would extend health benefits to veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq, failed to garner 60 votes.
The vocal veteran advocate was particularly incensed as the PACT Act had originally passed with an 84-14 bipartisan vote in June, but a technical error forced a revote.
Toomey, who led the opposition of the bill over an “unrelated $400 billion spending spree that has nothing to do with veterans,” told CNN that sneaking the spending in by using “a sympathetic group of Americans” was “the oldest trick in Washington.”
“It could be children with an illness, it could be victims of crime, it could be veterans who’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals – craft a bill to address their problems, and then sneak in something completely unrelated that they know could never pass on its own and dare Republicans to do anything about it,” he said on “State of the Union.”
On Sunday, Toomey said he was working on an amendment that wouldn’t change the amount of money the Pact Act would spend on veterans, and blasted Democrats for trying to force the bill through in its original form with the help of Stewart.
“They know they will unleash their allies in the media and maybe a pseudo-celebrity to make up false accusations to try to get us to just swallow what shouldn’t be there,” he asserted. Stewart clapped back at the Senator for trying to alter the bill on ABC News.
“What Toomey’s amendment wants to do is make sure that our sick and dying veterans have the pleasure that our 9/11 first responders at Ground Zero had of having to come back to Washington, hat in hand, riddled with cancer, and march through the halls of The Hill begging for money every year,” he told the hosts.
Though the legislation was ultimately passed on Tuesday with a 86-11 vote, after Toomey and others agreed to a floor vote that included his amendment, which, along with the others, did not pass. The Pennsylvania senator ultimately voted against the Pact Act.