Jon Stewart denounces congressional inability to fund 9/11 victim assistance program



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By Julie Tsirkin

Comedian Jon Stewart went to Capitol Hill Monday to ask Congress to provide additional funding to survivors and first responders of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

"The Congress must act urgently and cleanly, and not use these men and women as the currency of exchange," said former animator for "The Daily Show" at NBC News, Andrea Mitchell.

"They are not pawns. They are not people to play with. "

This is not the first time Stewart has asked to act to help first responders and 9/11 victims. In 2015, he wandered around the halls of Congress to pass a new law that would help men and women in uniform who became ill as a result of the 2001 attacks.

Congress re-launched the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund with $ 7.375 billion to cover claims until December 2020. But $ 5 billion has already been paid to more than 20,000 survivors. cancer and respiratory diseases.

Stewart was back on the Hill on Monday, urging lawmakers to secure permanent funding as the fund expires in 2020 and the special master who runs the program recently announced plans to cut payments.

"It is ironical. First responders are proud of the response time. It's what they work day after day, so that the people and communities they serve are well served, "said Stewart. "Yet, whenever they have a need, our response is inadequate, slow and apathetic."

John Feal, one of the first responders, joined Stewart in asking legislators to pass the bill to save the fund on Monday.

The law, known as the Never Forget the Heroes Act, is to be introduced Monday by Representative Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, and will permanently fund the VCF if it is passed.

Mr Feal, who said he attended 181 funerals of dead actors as a result of the attacks, told NBC News Monday that he "had paid for nine of them because of the fact that he had been killed. they could not afford to bury their loved ones ".

"We are sick and we die but we are not stupid."

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