Joe Biden signed legislation on Wednesday the extends veterans’ health benefits to those exposed to toxic burn pits, praising Jon Stewart for his role in rallying public support to compel Congress to act.
“What you have done Jon matters, and you know it does. You should know it really, really matters. You refused to let anybody forget, you refused to let them forget, and we owe you big man, we owe you big,” Biden said.
Stewart, who was present for the East Room ceremony, was given a standing ovation.
Stewart lashed out at Republicans last month for blocking the bill, the Honoring Our Promise To Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, or PACT Act, after a number of GOP members had previously supported it. While some Republicans claimed that a provision was inserted in the bill that would increase spending, Stewart dismissed those concerns.
Outside the Capitol the day after the bill was blocked, Stewart told reporters, “I’m used to the lies..I’m used to the hypocrisy…I am used to all of it, but I am not used to the cruelty.”
The legislation was brought back to the floor last week, and it passed 86-11.
At the White House, Stewart sat in the front row, next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Members of veterans’ families stopped and hugged him at points during the ceremony.