Testimony of the Hearing of Jon Stewart's September 11 First Responder Bill: "You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself"



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The former host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" show, Jon Stewart, took on a very different tone from his usual satirical speech when he spoke to Capitol Hill about the need to re-authorize the victims' compensation fund of September 11th. The measure is intended to provide health care benefits to first responders and other members of the community with diseases related to the 2001 terrorist attacksbut that's miss money.

In his moving testimony to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Stewart sometimes burst into tears, shouting at legislators and calling them "shameful".

"I can not help but think of what an incredible metaphor this room is … a room full of first responders on September 11th, and in front of me, a Congress almost empty, sick and dying, they made themselves heard by here a … shameful, "said Stewart at the beginning of his remarks. Just over half of the 14 members of the subcommittee were present, mostly Democrats.

Congress passed in 2010 the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act James Zadroga, in reaction to the opposition of some Republicans who hesitated over the $ 7 billion price. The act was re-authorized in 2015 for 90 years. But part of the law – the Victims Compensation Fund – was only funded for five years, until the end of 2020. The fund aimed to provide the necessary financial support to the thousands of people with serious medical problems, including a series of cancer diagnoses. the attacks of 2001.

The former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, testifies to the need to re-authorize the 9/11 compensation fund
The former host of the show "Daily Show", Jon Stewart, right, before testifying at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on the re-authorization of the Compensation Fund of the 9/11 victims, June 11, 2019. Pictured is Thomas Mohnal, a retired special agent and 9/11 worker, who retired. retired lieutenant and firefighter on September 11, 2001, Michael O. Connell, of the New York Fire Department; and the retired detective of the New York Police Department, Luis Alvarez.

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Dr. Jacqueline Moline, Chair of Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention at Hofstra School of Medicine, told the panel that currently, more than 11,000 types of cancer have been reported since the September 11 attacks, glioblastoma, an aggressive form of the brain. cancer, debilitating lung cancer.

Several members of the New York congressional delegation, including House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, and Representative Carolyn Maloney, both Democrats, and GOP People's Representative Peter King introduced the law. Never Forget the Heroes Act "of 2019 to reauthorize the Victims Compensation Fund. He also has the support of the two New York Senators, minority leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Stewart has long been a champion of the cause. He first devoted an entire episode of "The Daily Show" to the political debate on the Zadroga Act in 2010. He has since become one of the most virulent advocates of 9/11, defending himself Many times. the right to health care coverage for those who responded and ran to the falling towers.

Stewart was disgusted by the small number of members gathered for Tuesday's hearing, calling this event "embarrassment for this country" and "stain on this institution".

"You should be ashamed not to be here," he added. "The responsibility does not seem to be something that happens in this room." Stewart was worried about legislation such as the Never Forget Act being simply repressed as "political football" and attached to bikers in large budget bills.

"Why is this bill not subject to unanimous consent?" This is beyond my comprehension, Stewart warned. He also criticized the Congress for those who consider the measure as a problem "in New York".

"More and more men and women will get sick and die, and I'm terribly fed up with hearing that it's a problem." from New York. "Al Qaeda did not shout" dead to Tribeca. "They attacked America," Stewart said.

After a tirade of nearly five minutes against congressional inaction on the issue, the audience in the courtroom cheered the comedian.

The former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, testifies to the need to re-authorize the 9/11 compensation fund
FealGood Foundation co-founder John Feal kisses former Daily Show host Jon Stewart at a 9/11 House Judiciary Committee hearing on the re-authorization of the Fund. Compensation, September 11, 2019.

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Stewart's testimony was not the first to get members of Congress and the public to stand up. Luis Alvarez, a retired police detective from New York and a speaker on September 11, also testified before the House committee. He is due to begin Wednesday his 69th session of chemotherapy to treat the cancer he was diagnosed after the fall of the World Trade Center.

"This fund is not a ticket to paradise, it's a way of providing care to our families," said Alvarez. "You all said you would never forget, Well, I'm here to make sure you do not do it," Alvarez said in a hall of applause.

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