Biden inspires standing ovation in Jon Stewart for his help on veterans’ health bill

“What you did, Jon, matters. It really, really matters,” Biden said Wednesday in the East Room the day he signed the PACT law.

The PACT Act, also known as the Honoring Our Pact Act, includes health coverage for veterans – many of whom are battling cancer – after being exposed to burns while serving in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

“You refused to let anyone forget,” Biden said, addressing an emotional Stewart, who was in the audience.

“We owe you a lot, man,” Biden added. “We owe you a lot.”

To veterans, family members and lawmakers in the room, Biden added, “All of you never gave up the fight. You never give up. You didn’t quit, no matter what you were told.

Stewart was a tireless champion for expanding health care coverage for veterans. He lashed out at Republican senators when they unexpectedly blocked the bill last month. Earlier this year, the PACT Act passed the Senate, but the 25 Republicans who previously supported it withdrew their support in the July vote.

The veterans had traveled to Washington to celebrate the bill’s passage last month and instead held a “fire watch” vigil outside the US Capitol. They were joined by Stewart, who spoke to the press at the time to reject arguments against the bill that had been made by GOP lawmakers.

Biden, who was in isolation at the time after testing positive for COVID-19, spoke to the veterans on a video call and sent them pizza.

The Senate held another vote on the bill last week, and the measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a situation where people who have already given so much have had to fight so hard to get so little,” Stewart said Aug. 2 after the bill passed. “I hope we learned a lesson.”


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