Republicans shifted against the PACT Act because Democrats announced a plan for a completely unrelated bill: the reconciliation deal with Sen. Joe Manchin to invest in clean energy and health care while raising some corporate taxes. That’s what it took for them to go from being so grateful to the USO for the opportunity to assemble care packages for service members to voting to deny health care to veterans for conditions related to their time in the military.
Comedian Jon Stewart, who has become a dedicated advocate for veterans, skewered Scott at a Thursday press conference.
“It’s beautiful,” Stewart said, dripping with sarcasm. “Did you get the package? I think it has M&M’s in it, and some cookies and some moist towelettes.”
“None of them care—except to tweet,” he added. “Boy, they’ll tweet it. Can’t wait to see what they come up with on Veterans Day, on Memorial Day. Well, this is the reality of it.”
“We’ve seen partisanship and games within Congress for years,” Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was quoted by NBC News. “But what is shocking is that so many senators would literally be willing to play with veterans’ lives so openly like this.
“They’re manufacturing reasons to vote against legislation that they literally voted for just last month,” Butler continued. “And so it’s really a new level of low.”
After they blocked the bill, some Senate Republicans celebrated with fist bumps and handshakes:
The PACT Act, if Republicans ever allow it to pass, will extend coverage to 3.5 million veterans.
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