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Special Report: Jon Stewart's Fiery Support of PACT Act Continues his Journey from Satirist to Advocate

The former Daily Show host has left the humor behind as he channels his frustration with politics into a powerful alliance with veterans and first responders.
Special Report: Jon Stewart's Fiery Support of PACT Act Continues his Journey from Satirist to Advocate

The comedian on Thursday delivered another fiery speech slamming lawmakers' treatment of veterans, this time after Senate Republicans blocked a bill to expand healthcare coverage for veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits. The bill, the PACT Act, previously passed in the House, but a procedural vote to advance the latest version of it failed in the Senate on Wednesday, reports The Week.

"I'm used to the lies," Stewart said in Washington, D.C. "I'm used to the hypocrisy. ... I'm used to all of it. But I am not used to the cruelty."

Jon Stewart delivers fiery speech against GOP's 'cruelty' toward veterans (The Week)

Excerpt from The Week: Since leaving The Daily Show, Stewart has advocated for veterans' issues, and he devoted the first episode of his Apple TV+ show The Problem with Jon Stewart to the issue of toxic burn pits. When President Biden mentioned troops "breathing in toxic smoke from burn pits" during his State of the Union address, Stewart applauded the fact that "the president of the United States saw their struggle." But in his Thursday remarks about Republicans blocking the PACT Act, Stewart blasted the Senate as a place where "accountability goes to die," expressing shock that the bill, which would ensure veterans "don't have to decide between their cancer drugs and their house," failed to move forward. He also called "bulls--t" on Republicans' argument that it would create a "slush fund."
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According to The New York Post, comedian Jon Stewart doubled down Friday on a viral rant ripping Republican senators who voted against advancing a bill that would boost benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins from burn pits during their service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Jon Stewart blasts GOP after Senate blocks burn pit bill for veterans (The New York Post)

Excerpt from The New York Post: Forty-one Republican senators voted against cloture Wednesday on the Honoring our PACT Act, accusing Democrats of using the measure to hide a "budget gimmick" that would permit $400 billion in spending unrelated to veterans' health care. During an interview with Fox News Friday, the former "Daily Show" host insisted the bill was no different from the version that passed the Senate 84-14 in June. "This bill is purely based on toxic exposure health care and benefits to veterans," said Stewart, who urged viewers to look up the text for themselves.
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When Jon Stewart quit the Daily Show, the satirical news and comedy show he hosted for 16 years until August 2015, he explained to his replacement, Trevor Noah, that he was tired – and angry at the state of politics and political discourse in the US, writes The Conversation.

According to Noah, he said 'I’m leaving because I’m tired.' And he said, 'I’m tired of being angry.' And he said, 'I’m angry all the time. I don’t find any of this funny. I do not know how to make it funny right now, and I don’t think the host of the show, I don’t think the show deserves a host who does not feel that it is funny.'

Jon Stewart: journey from satirist to political advocate is no laughing matter (The Conversation)

Excerpt from The Conversation: Stewart is clearly no longer tired. And he has channeled his anger into passion for a cause: he is now a fierce advocate for the James Zadroger 9/11 Health Compensation Act. On June 12, he appeared in front of Congress, which was sitting to discuss the extension of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund for 9/11 first responders and survivors. The committee witnessed testimonies from a physician, a firefighter’s widow, and Luis Alvarez, a retired NYPD detective, who was due to start his 69th round of chemotherapy after developing cancer from working at Ground Zero. The media’s fixation with Stewart’s testimony isn’t attributed to his celebrity news value, but the symbolic capital he built since his time on The Daily Show. As chief news anchor, Stewart built a reputation as an important satirical voice and incisive social commentator to a generation that had grown tired of sensationalized news and vitriolic politics.
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UPDATE: Stewart conducted interviews with multiple media outlets on Friday while veterans staged a sit-in on the Capitol steps until the bill is passes. The Senate is supposed to take up the measure again on Monday.

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