WATCH: Jon Stewart criticizes Republicans for voting down bill to increase care for veterans exposed to burn pits

Warning: This video contains strong language.

Former Talk show host turned veterans advocate, John Stewart joined a bicameral group of Democrats to call out Senate Republicans for failing to pass the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.

Watch Stewart’s remarks in the player above.

In a speech riddled with strong language, Stewart criticized Republican senators for speaking in support of veterans, but then voting against the bill that would increase spending by more than $300 billion over the next decade and dramatically boost health care services and disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I’m used to the hypocrisy … but I’m not used to the cruelty,” Stewart said.

The bill would open up Department of Veterans Affairs health care to millions of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service even if they don’t have a service-connected disability. The bill also would provide new or increased disability benefits to thousands of veterans who have become ill with cancer or respiratory conditions such as bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The measure has the backing of the nation’s major veterans groups and underscores the continued cost of war years after the fighting has stopped.

The VA would presume that veterans developed their illness as a result of exposure to toxic substances during their service. Supporters say the current process for proving to the VA that their illness was caused by their exposure is too burdensome for a group of people already struggling with a myriad of other physical and psychological conditions.

READ MORE: VA will now recognize some veteran’s illnesses associated with exposure to burn pits

“These people thought they could finally breathe. You think their struggles end because the PACT Act passes? All it means is they don’t have to decide between their cancer drugs and their house. Their struggle continues,” said Stewart.

Opponents say the legislation would grant health and disability benefits to many veterans whose conditions may not have anything to do with their military service. They expressed worry that the influx of cases would tax an already stressed VA system, leading to longer wait times for health care and processing disability claims.

The military routinely used open burn pits to dispose of tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials into open burn pits during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A 2020 study from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine found that existing health studies provided insufficient evidence to determine whether exposure to burn pit emissions are linked to adverse respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer.

The authors of the study said the uncertainty doesn’t mean there is no association — only that there was insufficient data to draw definitive conclusions.