A Furious Jon Stewart Takes Congress To Task For Lawmakers’ ‘Shameful’ Absence And Inaction Over 9/11 Victims Fund
Firefighters, police and other first responders on 9/11 “did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity and humility,” 9/11 advocate Jon Stewart said as he blasted Congress. “Eighteen years later, do yours.” Stewart spoke at a hearing over the Victims Compensation Fund, which had only been authorized for five years--through the end of 2020. Now legislation that would fund the trust through 2090 has more than 300 co-sponsors in the House.
The Associated Press:
Jon Stewart Lashes Out At Congress Over 9/11 Victims Fund
Comedian Jon Stewart scolded Congress Tuesday for failing to ensure that a victims’ compensation fund set up after the 9/11 attacks never runs out of money. Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, angrily called out lawmakers for failing to attend a hearing on a bill to ensure the fund can pay benefits for the next 70 years. Pointing to rows of empty seats at a House Judiciary Committee hearing room, Stewart said “sick and dying” first responders and their families came to Washington for the hearing, only to face a nearly deserted dais. (Daly, 6/11)
Comedian Jon Stewart Assails Congress For Ignoring 9/11 First Responders Fund
“Where are they? It would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy was benign, but it’s not,” Stewart said. “Their indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity, time, one thing they’re running out of.” 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 New York in the days following the attack. (Gibson, 6/11)
Jon Stewart 9/11 First Responders Bill Hearing Testimony: 'You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourselves'
In his emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Stewart at times broke down in tears, shouting at the lawmakers and calling them "shameful." "I can't help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is ... a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one ... shameful," said Stewart at the outset of his remarks. A little over half of the 14-member subcommittee members were present, mostly Democrats. (Tillett and Segers, 6/11)
The Wall Street Journal:
Congress Is Set To Reinforce 9/11 Survivors Fund
Congress is poised to shore up the finances of the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund, months after the trust said it would have to cut back on claim awards for injured and ill first responders and other survivors. Legislation that would fund the trust through 2090 has more than 300 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and at a hearing Tuesday members from both parties assured survivors that they would act quickly to pass it. The fund was created to pay health-care costs for volunteers and rescue workers who have become sick since responding to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, Pa. (Rubin, 6/11)
Jon Stewart At 9/11 First Responders Hearing Rips Lawmakers For Not Showing Up
The fund is set to expire in 2020, and the special master who runs it previously announced plans to cut payouts by between 50% and 70% to ensure all are paid. The fund paid out $7 billion in damages when it originally operated from 2001 to 2003, was reopened in 2011 and extended for another five years in 2015. (Kelly, 6/11)