Republicans have been fairly notorious for trumpeting their support for veterans and the military, and using that support as a cudgel against Democrats. So what to make of the decision of 25 Republican Senators to oppose a bill that would provide health care and benefits for millions of veterans injured by exposure to toxins, from Agent Orange in Vietnam to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Known as the PACT Act, the bill would allow veterans to get medical coverage for certain ailments without having to prove that their illness was caused by toxic exposures suffered in the military. It had been hailed as the largest expansion of care in VA history.
The most charitable explanation seemed to be that — with Biden having just gotten a big win by virtue of Joe Manchin’s compromise on issues related to climate change and health care — that Republicans did not want to give Biden another win.
Jon Stewart — who previously had to shame Congress into acting on the 9/11 First Responders legislation — had to go back to the barricades and start shaming Senators again.
The man is a fucking comedian, not a professional advocate or policy wonk.
Oh, there were “budgetary gimmicks” in the bill, according to Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).
Not more so than had been true when the bill easily passed the Senate by an 84-14 vote in June. Or than has been part of literally thousands of pieces of other legislation.
So I hope people remember this when Republicans, inevitably, next wrap themselves in the flag and profess to everyone how they support veterans and the military more than Democrats.