Jon Stewart scolds Congress regarding reauthorizing the 9/11 victims compensation fund

Comedian Jon Stewart is scolding Congress for failing to ensure that a victims' compensation fund set up after the 9/11 attacks never runs out of money

Comedian Jon Stewart received a standing ovation from New York City first responders Tuesday as he urged members of Congress to pass a bill that would fully fund and permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.

Pointing to rows of empty seats in the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing room, an angry Stewart said "sick and dying" first responders and their families came to Washington for the hearing, only to see a almost deserted dais.

"Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one", Stewart said.

Since at least 2010 Jon Stewart, formerly of the Daily Show, has been striving to get Congress to provide adequate health care for the firefighters and other first responders that fought the fires and assisted victims after the World Trade Center towers were attacked by terrorists in 2001.

With more than 19,000 additional unpaid claims, the fund is running out of money, and Bhattacharyya, the special master, announced that pending claims, including those received before February 1, will be paid at 50 percent of their prior value. "I should not be here with you, but you made me come".

Shortly before the hearing, Stewart was given the turnout coat of FDNY officer Ray Pfeifer, who died from a 9/11-related cancer two years ago.

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Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) sought to assure Stewart that while there were not many lawmakers at the hearing, the message of the first responders' would be heard far beyond the committee room.

His bigger message: Give the first responders full coverage care and stop how often them have to come to Capitol Hill to ask for it. The fund has awarded more than $5 billion in compensation for more than 20,000 claims, but more than 17,000 claims are still being processed. The bill now pending will make health care for the 9/11 first responders permanent.

Stewart, the former host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, lambasted lawmakers for not showing up to the hearing, calling it "a stain on this institution". "These men and women should be up on that stage, and Congress should be down here answering their questions as to why this is so hard and takes so damn long". "They attacked America and these men and women. brought our country back", he said. They did their job with courage, grace, tenacity, humility - 18 years later, DO YOURS. "Obviously, you can say he wears his emotions on his sleeves", former 9/11 first responder Jake Lemonda said on FOX Business' "The Evening Edit" Tuesday. "We won't allow it to happen again", said Stewart.

Earlier this year, VCF Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya said a record number of claims submitted in 2018 and in recent months left insufficient funding in the VCF to pay all current and future claims.

Stewart's speech has been praised by many on social media, including Jimmy Kimmel and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. "That's not true. And we will respond, and we will see that it's funded".

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