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Jon Stewart left The Daily Show in 2015, at a time when we actually needed him, as all of the Trump bulls–t was about to take hold. I understood why he left though – he was very burned out and he had other things on his plate, from writing and directing, to animal rescue, and his commitment to 9/11 first responders. For years at the Daily Show, Jon used his platform to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of 9/11 first responders and America’s need to take care of the men and women who ran towards the burning World Trade Towers. Many of those first responders have significant health issues now, and 18 years after 9/11, federal funding of their medical care has largely dried up. That’s why Jon Stewart was on Capitol Hill yesterday, to speak to a subcommittee about reauthorizing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. The problem was that few members of the subcommittee – just a couple of Democrats – even showed up for the hearing. Jon was pissed off:In his emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Jon 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.Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010, over opposition from some Republicans who balked at its $7 billion price tag. The act was reauthorized in 2015 for 90 years. But a portion of the law — the Victim Compensation Fund — was only funded for five years, through the end of 2020. The fund aimed to provide necessary financial support for the thousands who suffered serious medical issues, including a spate of cancer diagnoses, after the 2001 attacks.Several members of the New York 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. It also has the support of New York’s two senators, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Stewart has long 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. He’s since become one of the most vocal advocates for 9/11 responders, repeatedly defending the right to health care coverage for those who responded and ran toward the falling towers.Stewart was disgusted by the small number of members assembled for Tuesday’s hearing, calling the showing an “embarrassment to this country” and a “stain on this institution…You should be ashamed of yourselves for not being here. Accountability appears to not be something that occurs in this chamber.” Stewart expressed concern that such legislation like the Never Forget Act would just be punted like a “political football” and attached to riders in massive budget bills.The politics of this is simple – the Democrats support the reauthorization and want the first responders to get the money and be taken care of. It’s the Republicans who don’t want to spend the money. It’s the Republicans who want to use the memory of 9/11 as a piece of political propaganda and then not actually do anything to support the heroes.Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.Celebitchy

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