Jon Stewart berates Congress over lack of funding for 9/11 victims

Jon Stewart appeared alongside former NYPD detective and 9/11 responder Luis Alvarez

Jon Stewart appeared alongside former NYPD detective and 9/11 responder Luis Alvarez

Though the new bill specifies that government support would be provided until 2090, it does not denote a specific amount of funds to be distributed.

Stewart, the former host of "The Daily Show", gave emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on Tuesday, at times broke down in tears and shouted at the lawmakers, calling them "shameful".

The vote occurred one day after Jon Stewart made an impassioned plea tinged with scathing criticism to members of Congress, during which he noted a significant absence of committee members, saying, "I can't help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is.Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a almost empty Congress. shameful". It now faces a vote by the full chamber.

Nadler said the five-year authorization was insufficient, arguing, "We know all too well that people who are sick now will only get sicker and many will die. Congress must act to make that happen".

"The resolution would permanently authorize of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act".

The fund, originally approved for five years in 2010, provides medical treatment for emergency responders sickened by toxic dust inhaled at the World Trade Center site in NY in the days following the attack.

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More than 40,000 people have applied to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which covers illnesses potentially related to being at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon or Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the attacks.

Stewart has always been a champion for the cause, first devoting an entire episode of "The Daily Show" to the political debate over the Zadroga Act back in 2010.

"As I sit here today, I can't help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to", Stewart angrily explained.

The sparse attendance by lawmakers was "an embarrassment to the country and a stain on this institution", Stewart said, adding that the "disrespect" shown to first responders now suffering from respiratory ailments and other illnesses "is utterly unacceptable". And you should be ashamed of yourselves, for those that aren't here. He also lambasted Congress for those that consider the measure a "New York" issue.

"Their indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity, time, one thing they're running out of".

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