Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., on Sunday defended GOP “no” votes for healthcare to veterans sickened by toxic burn pit fumes, blasting “pseudo-celebrity” Jon Stewart for his harsh condemnation.
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Toomey insisted the “no” votes were aimed at an add-on to the PACT Act that had nothing to do with healthcare.
“Republicans support this,” he said of the measure. “The Democrats added a provision that has nothing to do with veterans' healthcare, and it's designed to change government accounting rules so that they can have a $400 billion spending spree,” he claimed.
Toomey said he’s offering an amendment to remove that provision “and will not reduce veteran spending by a dime.”
“We are fully accepting that the new expenditures under the PACT Act for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals will increase the deficit,” he declared. “And we accept that as a price we have to pay for people who serve the country. What I'm objecting to is a budgetary gimmick, a sleight of hand in accounting rules, that will allow totally unrelated spending of $400 billion over the next 10 years. That's what we think shouldn't be in this bill.”
In a separate interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Toomey also railed at the move by Democrats, and lashed out at a “pseudo-celebrity to make up false accusations to try to get us to just swallow what shouldn’t be there.”
Stewart, an outspoken advocate for veterans’ health, joined protesters last week with a visceral criticism of the Republicans’ rejection of the PACT Act, saying: "I'm used to the hypocrisy… the cowardice… I am used to all of it, but I am not used to the cruelty."
Toomey pushed back when pressed by host Jake Tapper about the claim of a “budgetary gimmick” when the legislation requires funding to be used on healthcare for veterans.
“This is why they do this sort of thing, Jake, because it gets very deep in the weeds and very confusing for people very quickly,” he replied, a video clip showed on Mediaite.
“It’s not really about veterans spending. It’s about what category of government bookkeeping they put the veteran spending in. My change, honest people acknowledge, will have no affect on the amount of money or the circumstances under which the money for veterans is being spent. But what I want to do is treat it for government accounting purposes the way we’ve always treated it for government accounting purposes because if we change it to the way that the Democrats want, it creates room — in future budgets — for $400 billion of totally unrelated extraneous spending on other matters. That’s what I want to prevent.”
Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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