Most people know the name Jon Stewart for one thing, as the host of The Daily Show.Well, if you grew up watching MTV it’s possible you remember the short-lived The Jon Stewart Show and some movie appearances.
The point is, most people would associate Stewart only with The Daily Show, which outshined almost everything else in his career in terms of fame. But since his run on the show came to an end, Stewart has slowly built himself as an advocate for causes he covered fairly extensively during his time on TDS, particularly Veterans and 9/11 first responders.
For the last handful of years Stewart has helped advocate the for the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021, also referred to as the PACT act. This is a bill that is intended to help provide healthcare to veterans “who were exposed to toxic substances during military service.” The bill overwhelmingly and bi-partisanly passed back in June, but due to a technical error, the process needed to be started over again. This time, however, despite no substantive changes to the bill, it did not pass the Senate. What was supposed to be a formality ended up becoming a week of Stewart shouting at the top of his lungs in front of every camera he could get in front of.
It started when the bill was blocked and Stewart unleashed his anger about the issue.
Senator Pat Toomey, who led opposition to the bill as well as Senator Ted Cruz who attempted to spin his change of vote. While Cruz backhandedly called Stewart “quite funny,” what got Stewart fired up was his explanation of why he and several Republican allies changed their vote. In a video reminiscent of his Daily Show rants, Stewart mocked Cruz and laid out why he believed Cruz’ defense was, in Stewart’s words, “inaccurate…not true…BULLSHIT.”
The video evidently got to Cruz quickly, as a few hours later he responded with another Tweet video. Once again making clear that Stewart is “a funny guy” (a statement which is clearly less of a compliment and more a way to attempt to minimize Stewart), Cruz attempted to clarify why he was against the bill. Tensions rose even more when a video of the GOP Senators fist bumping after the bill’s blockage. Which Stewart escalated to calling it “cruel.”
Stewart went on literally every news channel available to debunk rumors (and there were a lot) ranging from spending discretions, thoughts that vets aren’t smart enough to understand it (Rand Paul ladies and gents), to even rumors that money was going to Hunter Biden (seriously?). If you do a search for “Jon Stewart” on Youtube, you will see just how many cameras he got in front of the last couple of days to get the word out. Like with the 9/11 Firs Responders bill, Stewart even went onto FOX News to make sure their watchers knew the facts and rationally stated, “this misinformation is turning Veterans against Veterans, and this benefits them all.”
After public outcry reached its peak, on Tuesday, August 2nd, the bill was brought back to the floor and GOP Senators changed their tune and the bill was passed. A press conference was held by Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Jon Stewart was invited to say some words, he apologized for all the cursing, thanked the people he worked with to get the bill passed, and then just disappeared into the crowd moments later… fuckin’ legend.
For those keeping track, Jon Stewart is now 2 for 2 when it comes to shaming Congress into getting bills passed for our Vets and 9/11 First Responders.