Republican senators sparked outrage when they bumped fists after voting to hold up aid for military veterans suffering from burn-pit exposure.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was captured on video Thursday fist-bumping Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) shortly after Republicans managed to block the PACT Act, which would allow soldiers, sailors and airmen exposed to pits of smoldering waste in combat zones to be covered by the Veterans Affairs health care system for linked illnesses. Many are suffering from cancer.
The surprise GOP resistance to the bill was apparently payback after Republicans were outplayed by Democrats earlier this week to win passage of a sweeping $740 billion package to increase taxes on the wealthy and invest in climate change measures and health care.
Democrats and veterans groups were furious that the veterans bill was held up by miffed Republicans when it was expected to pass.
“This is total bullshit. This is the worst form of overpoliticization I’ve literally ever seen,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said at a press conference Thursday held by Democrats and veterans.
The callous fist-bumping celebration was particularly hard to take for many.
“The most despicable part of this whole thing is watching on the Senate floor Ted Cruz fist-bumping, and then [the Republicans] patting each other on the back when they blocked this bill,” former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
They “celebrated their victory over veterans with cancer. Way to go, guys! You finally handed it to ‘big veteran with cancer.’ Well done!” he added sarcastically.
There was plenty more: