Jon Stewart lobbied members of Congress to extend benefits to workers and first responders who were injured or sickened by the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Surrounded by firefighters, union officials and a bipartisan contingent of New York lawmakers that included Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Stewart was in the nation’s capital to campaign for the renewal of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
McConnell said Wednesday that the Senate will take up re-authorization of 9/11 programs, but did not say whether he supports a permanent extension, as Stewart and the bill’s supporters have called for.
“I want to apologize to all the men and women, first responders, that you had to come down here today”, a bearded Stewart said more soberly. Will his influence in the public be powerful enough to get Congress to renew the health and compensation act for the 9/11 first responders?
Stewart has long advocated for sick first responders, and is credited with helping pass the initial legislation in 2010, after bringing four sick first responders on his show to publicly pressure Republican lawmakers filibustering the passage of the bill.
The comedian explained that he’s also embarrassed for the country, largely because the first responders have to “convince people to do what’s right for the illness and difficulties” suffered as a result of their “heroism” and “selflessness. If you can’t get this done, maybe we should shut down the government”.
“If they actually can’t obtain this done I don’t have a good considerable amount of expect they could get anything done, this is often about as certain some penalties as you are able to perhaps have”, Stewart instructed captioners. “I have a warning: today, on the Hill, you will be exposed to possibly toxic levels of bullshit and arrogance”.
Stewart signed on to help lobby for the programs, which will begin expiring at the end of the month, after hosting Gillibrand on “The Daily Show” in July.
“You’re strong men and women, but these are situations you may never have faced before”. It is named for Zadroga, a New York City police officer who died of a respiratory disease in 2006 that was linked to his work at Ground Zero. So buckle your seatbelts and let’s get this done. Or is he starting to enter politics?