One day later calling the network because you don’t host it to discuss the GOP blocking a veteran’s health bill, Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News on Friday to assure viewers of the conservative cable giant that the legislation did not include additional spending.
“This bill is entirely and wholly focused on the issues of veterans. There’s no pork in it. It’s a kosher bill. I would say ‘halal’, but I know how that could play out on this network,’ the former daily show host joked slyly at one point.
Senate Republicans on Wednesday night blocked a bill that would extend health care to veterans exposed to toxins in the combustion pit, even though the same legislation sailed through the Senate two months ago by 84 votes. democrats have since accused the GOP to vote against the PACT bill in retaliation for Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) announcement he struck a deal with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about the Biden administration’s long-sought climate and tax bill.
Stewart, a leading advocate for veterans and health care of 9/11 first responders, quickly sprang into action Thursday, doing a series of media hits to raise awareness and criticize Republicans for delaying legislation.
“If this is America First, America is screwed,” said on the steps of Congress on Thursday afternoon. Stewart even surprisingly made an appearance on far-right cable channel Newsmax, which told its audience that “any of those Republicans” who voted against the bill “don’t support the troops.”
During a Thursday night interview on MSNBC, Stewart told host Mehdi Hasan that Fox News — which has hosted him many times in the past to discuss the interests of his vets and first responders — “refused” to book him to talk about this issue. “We’ve been begging them all day to get on the air so we can finally give these senators some possible responsibility,” he claimed.
A Fox News spokesperson on Friday morning mentioned Stewart’s past appearances, but noted that he would now appear on the network twice.
In his first interview with America’s Newsroomthe comedian was gracious and cordial to anchor Bill Hemmer, devoting most of his energies to promoting the legislation and easing the GOP’s perceived concerns about the bill’s financing and spending.
At the same time, Stewart used the segment to make not-so-subtle jokes about the network and the right-wing audience.
“I want to clear up some of the misinformation about this bill: No expenses have been added to this bill that are not related to veterans. No last-minute budget gimmicks have been added to this bill,” he said. “Not a word has been added to that bill of the pact bill that the Senate passed 84-14. Not a word has been added. No pork has been added. Hunter Biden didn’t sneak in and add unrelated expenses in the middle of the night,” he continued, referring to the network’s obsessive coverage of the president’s son.
Hemmer said Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) expressed concern about a “budget gimmick” in the bill, but the senator believes the PACT bill will “eventually” be passed.
“First of all, that’s just not true,” Stewart retorted. “The provision was in the bill when it passed 84-14. Ask Pat Toomey because he complained about it on June 16 when it was originally adopted. Nothing has changed.”
Adding that “‘eventually’ isn’t okay,” the comedian reiterated that the bill didn’t include excessive spending that doesn’t go directly to veterans’ health care.
“There’s no pork in it,” he joked. “It is a kosher bill. I would say ‘halal’, but I know how that can play out on this network.’