Jon Stewart Rips Congress Over Therapy of 9/11 First Responders


Photograph by Zach Gibson/Getty Photographs

Former host of The Day by day Present host Jon Stewart made a speech to Congress on Tuesday the place he condemned lawmakers for not passing a invoice that would supply funding to 9/11 first responders then refusing to point out up for the listening to.

“As I sit right here as we speak, I can’t assist however suppose what an unbelievable metaphor this room is for your complete course of that getting well being care and advantages for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart stated. “Behind me, a crammed room of 9/11 first responders; and in entrance of me, a virtually empty Congress.”

Stewart repeatedly lambasted lawmakers who weren’t current on the assembly. “You need to be ashamed of yourselves, for people who aren’t right here,” he stated. “However you gained’t be, as a result of accountability doesn’t seem like one thing that happens on this chamber.” He gave the impression to be overcome with emotion as he described the actions of the FDNY on 9/11. “The official FDNY response time to 9/11 was 5 seconds,” he defined, “that’s how lengthy it took for FDNY for NYPD for Port Authority for EMS to reply to an pressing want from the general public.” He added later, “I’m sorry if I sound indignant and undiplomatic, however I’m indignant.”

The previous host of The Day by day Present described how the Federal authorities repeatedly tried to keep away from paying for the healthcare prices of the primary responders on 9/11. “your indifference price these women and men their most dear commodity: time. It’s the one factor they’re working out of.”

Jon made the speech throughout a listening to for the By no means Overlook the Heroes Act, which might authorize funding for the sufferer fund by the yr 2090. The invoice was launched by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. in October 2018, then reintroduced earlier this yr the place it has since stalled in the home.

Stewart was joined by 9/11 first responders together with Luis Alvarez, a retired NYPD detective and first responder who has been affected by issues because the occasions of September 11th. “Lower than 24 hours from now, I will probably be serving my 69th spherical of chemotherapy,” Alvarez stated. “I shouldn’t be right here with you, however you made me come. You made me come as a result of I cannot stand by and watch as my mates with most cancers from 9/11, like me, are valued lower than anybody else.”

Rupa Bhattacharyya, the sufferer fund’s administrator, introduced in February that there was inadequate funding to “pay all present and projected claims on the similar ranges as underneath present insurance policies and procedures” With out the approval of further funding, future claims must be paid out a lot decrease than their prior worth.

Regardless of Stewart’s fiery condemnation of the committee for not exhibiting up, Rep. Steve Cohen responded that the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Structure, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties and never the complete committee. “My subcommittee, each single member on my facet, which is eight of us, have been right here as we speak,” Cohen stated, “All these empty chairs, that’s as a result of it’s for the complete committee. It’s not due to disrespect or lack of consideration to you,”

The dearth of attendance may be attributed to the listening to being held solely hours earlier than the Home was set to vote on a civil contempt decision involving Lawyer Basic William Barr and former White Home counsel Don McGahn.

Combating for First Responders

Jon Stewart is a local New Yorker and has lengthy been an advocate of 9/11 first responders. Proper after the tragedy in 2001, Jon delivered a transferring monologue on The Day by day Present that gained nationwide consideration. Stewart delivered a passionate speech that mirrored his feedback on the 9/11 first responders invoice.

He additionally lobbied Congress in 2015, demanding that lawmakers go James Zadroga 9/11 Well being and Compensation Act, a invoice that will assist support first responders who had been sickened because of the assault. Jon actually walked the halls of Congress to drum up help for the act.

Like as we speak’s listening to, Jon was accompanied by 9/11 first responders. “I’m embarrassed for our nation, for New York, that you simply after serving so selflessly have to return down right here and persuade individuals to do what’s proper,” he stated to the group of firefighters and law enforcement officials who’re nonetheless affected by well being issues as a result of 9/11 assaults. His feedback in 2015 had been much like his speech in 2019. “We’re getting into workplaces the place they tweet on 9/11: ‘always remember.’ Nicely, guess who they forgot? I imply the disconnect is jarring and stunning and you’ll sit of their workplace and they’re going to say to you ‘oh yea no, we completely help our first responders.’ However you’re not,” Stewart informed NBC Information.