Jon Stewart Blasts Lawmakers In Hearing For Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund

‘You should be ashamed of yourselves’: Watch Jon Stewart tear into Congress over 9/11 victims fund

Stewart has been a longtime advocate for September 11 victims and first responders, frequently appearing on Capitol Hill to push lawmakers to increase funding to aid those who suffered illnesses following the attacks. The $7.3 billion fund has paid about $5 billion to roughly 21,000 claimants.

Several members of the NY congressional delegation, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, both Democrats, and GOP Rep. Peter King, have introduced the Never Forget the Heroes Act of 2019 to reauthorize the Victim Compensation Fund. The legislation has been pushed for by NY politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. Especially since only just over half of the lawmakers on the House subcommittee appeared to be present.

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.

"Shameful", he said. "It's an embarrassment to the country and it is a stain on this institution".

Drawing attention once more to the lack of urgency among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Stewart said: "It would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign, but it's not". "There is not an empty chair on that stage that didn't tweet out "Never forget the heroes of 9/11". well, here they are!" You should be ashamed of yourselves, for those that aren't here, but you won't be.

Luis Alvarez, a former New York Police Department detective, was one of several seriously ill Ground Zero workers who gave searing testimony about their longtime battles with illnesses, loved ones who have died and frustration with having to beg Congress to help.

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"More of these men and woman are going to get sick and they're going to die, and I'm awfully exhausted of hearing this is a 'New York issue.' Al-Qaeda didn't shout 'death to Tribeca.' They attacked America", Stewart remarked.

The Louisiana Republican then predicted the bill would sail through the committee and pass nearly-unanimously through the House.

Stewart's testimony was not the first to bring members of Congress and the audience to its feet.

After a almost five-minute-long tirade against congresssional inaction on the issue, the audience in the hearing room gave the comedian a standing ovation. On Wednesday, he is set to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy for 9/11-linked cancer. Frail and struggling at times to speak, Alvarez said he came to Capitol Hill on behalf of those who will get ill later and may get little or no aid from the fund.

"I'm sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I'm angry, and you should be, too, and they're all angry as well and they have every justification to be that way", he said.

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