What's the worst, most simplistic way to attack Senate Republicans? If you're a journalist at CNN, you suggest GOP members are “anti-veteran.” Discussing the new toxic exposure bipartisan bill traveling through the House and the Senate, on Tuesday’s CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera, the host interviewed liberal activist Jon Stewart. This new bill, according to Roll Call, expands on the existing House bill passed in March. The legislation would consist of “new health care and tax-free benefits as high as $3,332 a month to as many as 3.5 million veterans” at a cost estimated to be $278.5 billion over 10 years.
Originally, Republicans had backed the bill. When voting on it on June 16th, it was 84-14 in favor. Now, as Stewart claimed, Senate Republicans are “Flipping. Flipping their votes,” because of a “so-called budgetary gimmick.” The measure failed 55-42 last week.
Assuming the worst, Cabrera asked, “Why would they change their votes? Do you actually think they’re anti-veteran?” “No, I think they’re insulated and isolated, and that they’ve lost themselves to parliamentary procedures,” Stewart answered. He continued, “and you know, I’m not suggesting that there’s malevolence in the way that they’re treating veterans, but there is apathy and ignorance.”
The total spending would be more than $300 million over the upcoming decade, and in the words of Republican Senator Pat Toomey, “what I’m trying to do is change a government accounting methodology that is designed to allow our Democratic colleagues to go on an unrelated $400 billion spending spree that has nothing to do with veterans.”
What would it have looked like if this had been a bipartisan bill that Democrats had tried to stomp? The networks might surely be calling them, “smart” or “intelligent” for checking where millions of dollars were planned to go.
Yet, Cabrera stands to suggest that GOP might be against the men and women of service, probing the activist to do the same. Cabrera even went as going as far as to suggest that personal Twitter battles between Senator Ted Cruz and Stewart made the ‘No’ from the Senator a little more personal.
It’s not just CNN that has had a field day with the narrative that Republicans don’t care about veterans. The Guardian presented quotes from Stewart as well, shining GOP as evil.
What CNN has failed to report is that POLITICO reported Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stating, “it will pass this week,” along with both Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator John Thune (R- S.D.) making comments on the same wavelength, how they would “expect it to pass.”
Instead, Cabrera would rather paint the narrative that CNN so boldly holds: GOP stands for nothing good.
Click "expand" to read full transcript.
CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera
1:55:10 p.m. Eastern
ANA CABRERA: Not a lot has changed except for their votes. But why? Why would they change their votes? Do you actually think they're anti-veteran?
JON STEWART: No, I think they're insulated and isolated, and that they've lost themselves to parliamentary procedures.
And you know, I'm not suggesting that there's malevolence in the way that they're treating veterans, but there is apathy and ignorance. This didn't just come up overnight. These folks have been fighting for 15 years. I have documents from the Pentagon and the VA that talked about the damage that the burn pits were going to do to veterans, listing all of the diseases and things that were going to be coming down the pike, and they ignored it, and they did nothing.
This bill finally addresses it, and I'm sorry, Senate and the House still have budgetary oversight. The secretary of the VA, whether it's mandatory spending or discretionary spending, still has to submit an appropriations list every year that these guys are well within their rights to vote down, or if they really don't like this budgetary gimmick, don't vote for it 84-14 on June 16th. But here's the other thing they could do, because I said to them, if it's such a problem, don't you have a process where you could fix it? And they go, ‘oh, yeah, no,’ we could do that.
CABRERA: Do you feel like some of the personal battles you have faced with some of these senators, like your Twitter battles with Ted Cruz, have resulted in a pushback against you, that some of these "No" votes on this bill have become personal?
STEWART: Oh, wow, if that's the case, that may be more pathetic than them fist-bumping after denying healthcare and benefits to veterans. If they're so fragile and so weak that somebody coming out on Twitter and correcting them in an impolitic way makes them change their votes, I don't know. Then, maybe they need to be somewhere else where their power doesn't affect people's lives so directly.
CABRERA: Jon, why has this cause touched you in such a deep way? I can feel your passion jumping through the screen. You have dedicated so much of your time. You are 100 percent in on this cause.
STEWART: I've been with this community for 20 years. From Walter Reid to USO tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to Achilles Heel Freedom Team, to The Warrior Games, I've seen the burden that our war machine puts on military families, and one of the reasons it's so important to me is because we've lost sight of the effects of what happens in Washington on the real people that live out there, and this is the lowest-hanging fruit of a functioning society. Like, if we can't handle taking care of the people who defend and protect us, then what chance do the rest of us have?