Comedian and 9/11 victim advocate Jon Stewart said Friday it’s hard to congratulate the House for passing a measure that would extend the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund until 2090.
“It’s hard to be celebratory when people do their jobs and, you know,” Mr. Stewart said in an interview with CNN.
The former “Daily Show” host went viral in June after he blasted the lack of lawmakers showing up to a House Judiciary hearing on extending the fund.
“What an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress,” Mr. Stewart said then, “Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful! It’s an embarrassment to the country”
Now that the measure has passed the House, Mr. Stewart added they wanted to have the extension passed before Lou Alvarez, who testified before Congress weeks before passing away due to the injuries sustained from helping the 9/11 cleanup effort.
“What he really wanted was to see this happened before he passed. We weren’t able to make that happen, but in his memory, we’re going to be able to make it happen in the Senate, and for Ray Pfeifer, and for all the first responders and the victims and the survivors that those names represent,” Mr. Stewart said.
“They represent a community of people who are in terrible pain and are sick and dying,” he continued. “16 died this month. What’s happening to that community is urgent and dire and heartbreaking and so look these guys have put in the work for 15 years … and we just want them to be able to exhale.”
The bill now heads to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would “consider this important legislation soon.”
“We’re going to hold Sen. McConnell to his word, but passing this in the Senate will be a chance to exhale, but it doesn’t fix the grief and the suffering that they will continue to experience going forward. It just removes that extra burden that needn’t have been there in the first place,” Mr. Stewart said.
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