Comic Jon Stewart took members of Congress to process on Tuesday, blasting a part of the Home Judiciary Committee for its low attendance at a listening to about reauthorizing funding for individuals with ailments linked to the 9/11 crash websites.
Congress created the Sept. 11th Sufferer Compensation Fund after the terrorist assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, to assist anybody injured or sickened within the assaults or within the response course of.
“As I sit right here as we speak, I can’t assist however assume what an unimaginable metaphor this room is for your entire course of that getting well being care and advantages for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart informed a subcommittee of the Home Judiciary Committee. “Behind me, a crammed room of 9/11 first responders, and in entrance of me, an almost empty Congress.”
The firefighters, law enforcement officials and others got here to the listening to regardless of sickness and accidents, Stewart stated, however some members of the subcommittee selected to not present up. The primary responders attended the listening to to advocate for the monetary compensation they’re due, Stewart stated.
“I’m sorry if I sound offended and undiplomatic,” stated Stewart, the previous host of “The Each day Present” on Comedy Central. “However I’m offended and you have to be, too.”
He berated the lawmakers for what he known as their “callous indifference” and “rank hypocrisy,” campaigning on first responders’ points and commending their heroism, but not performing in Congress to help them.
“There’s not an individual right here — there’s not an empty chair on that stage that didn’t tweet out, ‘always remember the heroes of 9/11; always remember their bravery; always remember what they did, what they gave to this nation,’” Stewart stated, then motioned to the gang of first responders behind him. “Nicely, right here they’re.”
The fund was most lately reactivated in 2015 as a part of the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Well being and Compensation Act, which offers well being care and monetary help to first responders, volunteers and survivors. The Sufferer Compensation Fund is permitting individuals to submit claims till Dec. 18, 2020, however the fund’s management stated in February it might cut back awards due to “funding insufficiency.”
Stewart has been advocating for the Sufferer Compensation Fund since no less than 2010, when he devoted 9 minutes of “The Each day Present” to criticizing members of Congress who opposed the Zadroga Act. White Home press secretary Robert Gibbs informed reporters on the time that Stewart’s activism could have brought about “a breakthrough” on the difficulty.
Stewart didn’t communicate from a written assertion, like many who seem in entrance of committees are likely to do. At instances, the previous late-night host raised his voice. He got here near crying. He begged the committee to take their points critically.
“They responded in 5 seconds — they did their jobs. With braveness, grace, tenacity, humility,” Stewart stated, tearing up and dropping his pen onto the desk. “… Eighteen years later, do yours.”
The primary responders behind him rose to their toes, erupting into sustained applause as some lawmakers clapped slowly from their seats.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the chairman of the subcommittee, pushed again in opposition to Stewart’s criticisms to defend Congress as “the bulwark of democracy” and added that different committee conferences happen on the similar time.
“Some members are of their workplaces visiting with constituents, or they might be watching on tv, as a result of that is broadcast. … Our attendance was fairly good,” 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.”
Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Man Reschenthaler (R-Penn.) had been the one two subcommittee members who didn’t attend, stated Daniel Schwarz, a spokesman for subcommittee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Different members cycled out and in of the listening to, Schwarz stated.
Jimmy Kimmel, a preferred comic and host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Dwell!”, weighed in on Stewart’s feedback on Twitter:
As The Washington Put up’s Meagan Flynn beforehand reported:
The 9/11 terrorist assaults have all the time been private for Stewart, who stated in 2001 that he might see the World Commerce Heart from his house in Decrease Manhattan. 9 days after the assaults killed almost 3,000 individuals, Stewart appeared behind his wood desk on “The Each day Present,” stumbling at first to shirk the awkwardness that comes naturally with a late-night comedy present within the wake of the nation’s most unfathomable tragedy. “Tonight’s present is clearly not an everyday present,” he stated.
Then got here an unforgettable monologue.
“Any idiot can blow one thing up. Any idiot can destroy. However to see these guys, these firefighters, these policemen and other people from everywhere in the nation, actually, with buckets rebuilding … that’s … that’s extraordinary. And that’s why we’ve already gained,” he stated, his voice cracking. “It’s mild. It’s democracy. We’ve already gained. They’ll’t shut that down.”