Comedian Jon Stewart assails Congress for ignoring 9/11 first responders fund

Jon Stewart First Responders Testify Before Congress On 9/11 Victim Compensation Funding

"I can't help what think what an incredible metaphor this room is. a filled room of 9/11 first responders and front on me, a almost empty Congress".

Stewart did not hold back, ripping Congress for failing to fully fund a program to support sick and dying 9/11 first responders and choking back tears.

In an emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Stewart at times choked up, shouting at lawmakers and calling them "shameful". "You should be ashamed of yourselves for not being here", said the star, who found it "beyond my comprehension" why the "bill is not unanimous consent".

Stewart said the small number of lawmakers who appeared at the hearing shows how little respect Congress has for those who responded to the attacks.

But his testimony was the most searing and visceral of the morning, as he accused lawmakers of negligence and of treating first responders lobbying for more relief money "like children trick-or-treating, rather than the heroes they are and they will always be". In 2015, the fund was allocated $7.375 billion to give out over the next five years.

"More of these men and woman are going to get sick and they're going to die, and I'm awfully exhausted of hearing this is a 'New York issue.' Al-Qaeda didn't shout 'death to Tribeca.' They attacked America", Stewart remarked.

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Stewart has been championing the Victim Compensation Fund since at least 2010, when he devoted his entire final broadcast of "The Daily Show" to criticizing members of Congress who opposed the Zadroga Act. "They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility".

Whenever someone-usually some rightwing pundit-wanted to diminish Jon Stewart's work, they'd try to use "comedian" as a derisive term, writing off The Daily Show as "just a comedy show". "This hearing should be flipped, these men and women should be up on that stage and Congress should be down here answering their questions", Mr. Stewart said. "Eighteen years later, do yours!" he shouted.

Currently, more than 11,000 first responders and survivors have been diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers.

"The plain fact is that we are expending the available funds more quickly than assumed, and there are many more claims than anticipated", said Rupa Bhattacharyya, the fund's special master. "They attacked America and these men and women. brought our country back", he said. "18 years later, do yours", he demanded, to a standing ovation behind him. They're costs that retired NYPD Bomb Squad Detective Louis Alvarez knows well. "This fund is not a ticket to paradise, it's there to provide to our families when we aren't there", he said.

The Louisiana Republican then predicted the bill would sail through the committee and pass nearly-unanimously through the House.

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