Jan 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jon Stewart: Congress must "urgently" pass bill to help vets exposed to toxins

Jon Stewart speaks at a press conference for "Honoring our PACT Act: Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins" at House Triangle on May 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Jon Stewart during a press conference in Washington, D.C., last May. Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Jon Stewart said during a virtual roundtable with the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs on Wednesday that the issue of veterans' exposure to toxic burn pits should be treated as a "national security issue."

Why it matters: House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Mark Takano (D-Calif.) convened the meeting to discuss passing bipartisan legislation that would improve care and benefits to veterans who became ill after being exposed to toxic burn pits during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What he's saying: Stewart noted how easily large defense budgets were passed as he highlighted the need for treating the matter as a national security issue — noting that Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs had been "slow to act, citing high costs or lack of absolute scientific proof."

  • "With each passing day, more veterans will get sick. It's time for us to hold up our end of the deal and urgently pass this bill," the comedian and veterans advocate said.
"The bottom line is this: Our country exposed our veterans to poison for years, and we knew about it, and we didn't act with urgency and appropriateness."
— Jon Stewart

What to watch: The Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, sponsored by Takano, has undergone a full legislative hearing and markup, but it's yet to be voted on in the House.

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