Veterans sleep on Capitol steps after GOP blocks burn pit bill

Veterans Groups and Jon Stewart have been protesting for the past few days in defense of holding up a bill that provides health care to Veterans exposed to burn pits. Veterans have even camped and slept on the Capital steps as a way to protest against the GOP for prolonging the vote for the bill.

Jen Burch, a retired staff sergeant in the Air Force, says she is suffering from an ailment that she believes came from her service time during the Afghanistan war. While Burch and her fellow service members were in Kandahar, they were exposed to “Burn pits, incinerators and poo ponds,” as Burch said.

After she left and returned home, she had to battle her own war against pneumonia and bronchitis. And in the years following, she has been “in and out of ERs” and had to deal with intense migraine headaches and shortness of breath. As she said at the recent rally last Monday outside of the U.S. Capitol, “I actually ended up trying to take my life because I just can’t handle it anymore. I just go crazy in my head.”

But Burch is one of many veterans protesting the GOP for blocking the passage of the bill that would essentially provide lifesaving benefits for American veterans exposed to toxic phenomena and burn pits. The 60 veteran groups camped and slept on the Capital steps along with comedian Jon Stewart who, in a speech, blasted the GOP for opposing the bill.

“This bill is purely based on toxic exposure health care and benefits to veterans. Not one word has been added to it… Hunter Biden didn’t sneak in and add in unrelated spending in the middle of the nigh. This bill is exactly as it was with the removal of one sentence that had to do with taxation and rural medical facilities,” Stewart said. “Eventually is not okay. Tell someone with cancer that’s been fighting for years, that eventually they’ll get the help that they need. That is not an acceptable answer. It is despicable to continue to use Americans, men and women who are righting for this country, as a political cause for anger you have about separate issues.”

He continued, “Pat Toomey claims that he has veteran groups behind him. I call bulls**t. These are the veterans groups. They’re all here. This is the veterans community, Senator. They don’t stand behind you. This is an embarrassment to the Senate, to the country, to the founders and all that they profess and hold dear, And if this is America first, then America is f***ked.”



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