9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Reauthorization Bill Approved After Jon Stewart’s Emotional Speech
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Reauthorization Bill was approved this week a month after Jon Stewart‘s emotional speech to Congress.
Stewart’s speech went viral and allowed the bill to be passed by the Senate on Tuesday. The fund will help first responders pay for health care through 2092.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill on Friday.
“I think we can all agree I’m the real hero,” said Stewart during a speech Tuesday. “This has been the honor of my life to work with the men and women behind me.” There were several first responders present with Stewart and he also mentioned some of the first responder’s names, including firefighter Ray Pfeifer, John Feal and Luis Alvarez who died in late June after testifying before Congress with Stewart.
Stewart’s testimony brought to light how distressing the situation has become for first responders who had sustained chronic illnesses over the years. He ripped into Congress for their “rank hypocrisy” and “shameful” behavior.
“I’m angry, and you should be too,” Stewart said. “Your indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity: time. It’s the one thing they’re running out of. This hearing should be flipped,” he continued. “These men and women should be up on that stage and Congress should be down here answering their questions as to why this is so damn hard and takes so damn long.”
The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee the next day. On July 17, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voted to block the bill on the grounds that the country’s national debt needed to be addressed first.
Stewart responded to their decision to block the bill in an interview with Fox News.
“Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling,” he said. “Rand Paul presented tissue paper avoidance of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit. And now he stands up at the last minute, after 15 years of blood, sweat, and tears from the 9/11 community, to that, it’s all over now; now we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.”