Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

9/11 advocates, Jon Stewart demand Congress pass legislation to help military veterans exposed to toxins

Jon Stewart, right, walks with 9/11 first responder and FealGood Foundation co-founder John Feal. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/TNS)

Jon Stewart and 9/11 advocate John Feal are putting the heat on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to pass a bill now working its way through the House that would help millions of veterans exposed to toxins overseas.

According to the Veterans Administration, at least 3.5 million members of the armed services were exposed to burn pits in deployments during the global war on terror. Some of the open-air pits were the size of football fields and were used to incinerate everything from used medical supplies and electronics to garbage and human waste.

The fumes from the toxic fires, often set with jet fuel, resembled the toxic mix that boiled from the destroyed World Trade Center in 2001, and have similarly sickened or killed thousands of veterans.

Stewart, who joined Feal in advocating for veterans after helping to pass permanent 9/11 health legislation, warned there will be attempts to water it down to a five-year plan — and ripped lawmakers for even thinking of it.

“This is a place where what is necessary becomes what they can get away with,” Stewart said at a news conference on Capitol Hill. “F–k that! It’s not happening. They [veterans] get what they deserve — the comprehensive bill that addresses the urgent need in their community.”

Both Feal and Stewart looked to what happens after the House votes, and the bill goes to the Senate, which happens to be run by fellow New Yorker Chuck Schumer.

“The Senate pulls the same shenanigans,” Stewart said. “And so once this is done, make no mistake, then the battle shifts to the Senate. And as you know, they are excellent at killing things that are necessary.”

Feal called over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was on hand, to deliver an ultimatum.

“What we need to do now is to let everybody know that there’s a three-part bill in the Senate that is silly, that will not do what the PACT Act does,” Feal said, directing his words to Pelosi.

“I’m asking you now — because if I do it, Chuck’s not gonna like it — I’m asking you now to sit down with Jon and I and Sen. Schumer,” Feal said. “Let Chuck know that we want a bill compatible with the Honor Our PACT Act. If he does not do that, then I will make his life miserable.”

“I can attest, when John Feal says he will make your life miserable, he has made my life very miserable,” Stewart joked.

An aide to the Senate Majority Leader said, “Schumer believes strongly in this bill and will do everything he can to pass it.”

The bill would remove bureaucratic hurdles that block veterans from getting care now. The vast majority of claims related to exposure are rejected, and ill vets have to go for years battling on their own, some to the point of death, without getting help.

In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Biden pledged to make it easier for veterans to get care, saying several conditions would now be presumed to be combat-related. It means that veterans who have those certain conditions would no longer have to prove ruined lungs come from specific service, which can be impossible, and simply get the care they need.

The “Honoring Our PACT Act” would provide the injured with more benefits and fewer roadblocks while guaranteeing that care in law.

Stewart brought up Danielle Robinson, the widow of late Sgt. Heath Robinson. The Ohio National Guard veteran died of cancer believed to have been caused by toxic burn pit exposure while deployed to Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

Robinson said that she got a call Tuesday from the company that handled the burial of her husband.

“They told me that his headstone was placed yesterday, the same day that I would be coming to Washington to honor him and honor all these veterans who have been suffering for so long to get the care that they need to get,” Robinson said. “So if that isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is.”


© 2022 New York Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC