Former "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart joined lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill to push for legislation to compensate and treat veterans suffering from illnesses connected to toxic burn pits in combat zones, Stars & Stripes reported.
Stewart, Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and former VA Secretary David Shulkin are seeking legislation that would streamline the process of obtaining VA benefits for burn pit and toxic exposure.
Burn pits were used to burn waste, hazardous material and chemical compounds at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to CNN.
Stewart, who previously pushed for a bill to help first responders who became sick due to their work on 9/1. The bill would pay for health care through 2092 and Stewart said he thought his mission was completed with that legislation.
"But it turns out that the warfighters who were sent to prosecute the battle, based on the attacks on 9/11, now suffer the same injuries and illnesses that the first responders suffered from," Stewart told a news conference.
Veterans who suffered from cancers, respiratory issues, and lung diseases have blamed exposure to toxic fumes, but the VA has said there is insufficient evidence to support those claims.
Under the proposed legislation, a veteran would only have to submit proof that he served in one of 33 countries where the US used burn pits.
Shulkin said the current policy "is making our veterans wait," comparing it to delayed care for World War II veterans who participated in classified mustard gas experiments and Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
Gillibrand said the legislation states "that if you were there you are covered... [applying] common sense and common decency to a very broken process."
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