Comedian John Stewart tore into a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee for its low attendance at a hearing to discuss reauthorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Stewart, who has long been an advocate for first responders who suffer health issues, spoke to the committee Tuesday and began by pointing out the attendance level of the committee members.
“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting healthcare and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart said. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.”
“Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country, and it is a stain on this institution,” he said. “Accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”
During his nearly 10-minute opening remarks, the former host of “The Daily Show” became emotional as he spoke without notes, choking back tears and at times raising his voice.
“I’m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I am angry and you should be too,” Stewart said. “Certainly 9/11 first responders shouldn’t have to decide whether to live or to have a place to live.”
Earlier this year it was announced that payments from the fund, which is set to expire in 2020, would be rolled back because of a budget shortfall. A bipartisan group of House members introduced the the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. A Senate companion bill was also brought forward.
“Why this bill isn’t unanimous consent and a stand-alone issue is beyond my comprehension,” Stewart said. “They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility — 18 years later, do yours!”
Author: Zachary Halaschak
Source: Washington Examiner: WATCH: Jon Stewart eviscerates Congress for treatment of 9/11 first responders