Comedian and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 first responders, lashed out today at lawmakers who were missing from the dais while ailing first responders, supporters and their families filled the room at a hearing on the need to reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
“I am awfully tired of hearing that it’s a 9/11 New York issue. Al-Qaeda didn’t shout ‘Death to Tribeca.’ They attacked America,” Stewart told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
Stewart called the lack of attendance by lawmakers “an embarrassment to the country and a stain on the institution” of Congress, telling members, “I’m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I am angry, and you should be too.”
A 2011 bill dedicated $7.3 billion to the compensation fund, but more funding is needed as the rates of 9/11-related illness rise.
“This is nonsense. You guys know it, I know it. This is theater. We’re all down here today, there’s no reason to have dragged these people down here, there’s no reason to have these conversations,” Stewart said.
“This is your opportunity to write a final chapter for these men and women who fought for 18 years — they fought when nobody believed they were sick, they fought when nobody believed their sickness was caused by 9/11, they fought when nobody thought their healthcare was worth paying for, they fought every step of the way,” he said.
After Stewart ended his statement, the first responders in the room gave him a standing ovation.
Anesta Henry testifies about her late husband, Candidus Henry, who died a few weeks ago of a 9/11 related illness. Mr. Henry was a construction worker and 9/11 first responder. pic.twitter.com/BdsIqEZw9g
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 11, 2019