Jon Stewart has long been an advocate for the 9/11 first responders and the Victims Care Fund (VCF) so they can get treatment for their illnesses stemming from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in NYC. It’s something he’s worked to make happen a few times before since the House Committee hasn’t been able to get a permanently funded or clean bill (not attached to another bill) for the cause. In the past he’s shamed them on national TV and on the steps of the capital to get bills passed. Today, Stewart sat in a packed room of ill first responders who were in front of half-empty House Committee (5 of the 14 were present) who didn’t seem to care enough to show up to hear Stewart and the responders ask for the funding that is set to expire in 2020. Stewart, fluctuating between outright rage one moment to holding back tears the next, berated politicians for nearly 10 minutes. Reminding them to do their jobs, “I’m tired of hearing this is a New York issue. Al-Qaieda didn’t shout ‘Death to Tribeca.’”
He pointed out the hypocrisy of Congress as they would always post something about never forgetting on the 9/11 anniversary, except when they have the capacity to actually do something to help first responders. Stewart ended his fiery speech wondering why it’s taken so long to get a clean funding bill approved, “They responded in 5 seconds, they did their jobs… with courage, grace tenacity, and humility. And 18 years later, DO YOURS!”
UPDATE: The House Committee unanimously passed the bill one day later (Wednesday) where it will be scored and then go onto the entire house where it already has 313 bipartisan co-sponsors. Apparently public shaming sill works and has a place in our society.