Jon Stewart Pushes Congress To Renew 9/11 Victim’s Fund
On Monday, comedian Jon Stewart went to Capitol Hill and joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to demand Congress to provide additional funding for survivors and first responders of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
This came after the Justice Department’s special master who oversees the 9/11 Victims Compensation fund announced that benefits would be reduced between 50 and 70 percent, as a result of funding drying out and more people becoming sick.
“I am painfully aware of the inequity of the situation … but the stark reality of the data leaves me no choice,” the department’s special master said.
Since the creation of the fund Congress has revived it twice, in 2010 and 2015, but of which both times gave it only a five-year lifeline. Now, Stewart and lawmakers are looking for something more permanent and have introduced legislation, known as the Never Forget the Heroes act, that would guarantee that first responders sickened by the attacks, as well as survivors, receive their full benefit from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The bill would also make funding, which is set to expire in 2020, permanent if passed.
“Congress needs to do this urgently and cleanly, and not use these men and women as a bargaining chip,” the former Daily Show host told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell. “They’re not pawns. They’re not people to be played with.”
“It’s ironic. First responders pride themselves on response time. It’s the thing that they work on day in and day out so that the people and the communities that they serve are well served,” he later added. “Yet each and every time when they have a need, our response is inadequate, slow and apathetic.”
This is not the first time that Stewart has demanded action to help the first responders and victims of 9/11, as in 2015 he went to Congress to secure passage of a new law that would aid men and women in uniform that were sickened as a result of the 2001 attacks.