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Jon Stewart 9/11 Fund Speech

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Jon Stewart’s 9/11 Monologue On The Daily Show

WATCH: Jon Stewart says Congress ‘should be ashamed’ over inaction on helping 9/11 first responders

Stewart’s immediate response to 9/11 was an incredibly moving one. The show, filmed in New York City, returned to airwaves nine days after the deadliest terror attack ever on American soil. Stewart periodically got choked up and admitted he was terrified, but inspired viewers with his message of strength, resilience and spirit, as well as is empathy and compassion. In his monologue, Stewart noted that he would “grieve” but not “despair,” and invoked one of his earliest memoriesthe assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and how the country came back from that horrific incident and praised first responders. Watch his 9/11 speech below.

“The reason I dont despair is because this attack happened. It’s not a dream. But the aftermath of it, the recovery is a dream realized. And that is Martin Luther King’s dream. Whatever barriers we’ve put up are gone, even if it’s just momentary. And we’re judging people by not the color of their skin but the content of their character,” he said.

“The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center and now it’s gone. They attacked it,” he concluded. “This symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can’t beat that.”

Related: The Most Powerful Quotes Remembering 9/11 on the 19th Anniversary

Jon Stewart’s Work For 9/11 First Responders And Victims

Established in 2001, the 11th Victim Compensation Fund was designed to provide health benefits to first responders and their families who aided in the 9/11 recovery and rescue efforts. The program expired in 2004 but was reauthorized in 2010.

Stewart interviewed a panel of 9/11 first responders on The Daily Show in 2010 to encourage reinstatement of the program and to blast Congress for failing those who should be treated as heroes, and then-New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg largely credited Stewart for the program’s reinstatement. When the bill was at risk of expiring again in 2015, Stewart returned to The Daily Show to plead for its renewal.

In June 2019, Stewart tearfully pleaded with and slammed Congress members who skipped the hearing for not providing adequate care to 9/11 first responders.

“It’s an embarrassment, and you should be ashamed of yourselves,” he fumed, adding, “As I sit here today, I cant help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting healthcare 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.”

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I think this community is at the end of their rope, Stewart said on Fox News Sunday, noting that seven more 9/11 first responders died last week.

I think theres a feeling of disbelief, that they cant understand why they have to continually saddle up and ride down to Washington and make these appeals for something that should be simple but is somehow, through politics, made agonizingly difficult, he continued.

In recent years, more and more 9/11 first responders have been diagnosed with illnesses that have been linked to their participation in rescue and recovery efforts following the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stewart said on Sunday: We cannot make these individuals continue to live in the agonizing uncertainty of not knowing if these programs will be extended, and that they will be able to move on with their lives.

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Jon Stewart Lashes Out At Congress Over 9/11 Victims Fund

Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart lends his support to firefighters, first responders and survivors of the September 11 terror attacks at a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee as it considers permanent authorization of the Victim Compensation Fund, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

WASHINGTON Comedian Jon Stewart scolded Congress Tuesday for failing to ensure that a victims’ compensation fund set up after the 9/11 attacks never runs out of money.

Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, angrily called out lawmakers for failing to attend a hearing on a bill to ensure the fund can pay benefits for the next 70 years. Pointing to rows of empty seats at a House Judiciary Committee hearing room, Stewart said “sick and dying” first responders and their families came to Washington for the hearing, only to face a nearly deserted dais.

The sparse attendance by lawmakers was “an embarrassment to the country and a stain on this institution,” Stewart said, adding that the “disrespect” shown to first responders now suffering from respiratory ailments and other illnesses “is utterly unacceptable.”

Lawmakers from both parties said they support the bill and were monitoring the hearing amid other congressional business.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., predicted the bill will pass with overwhelming support and said lawmakers meant no disrespect as they moved in and out of the subcommittee hearing, a common occurrence on Capitol Hill.

Stewart was unconvinced.

Watch Jon Stewarts Entire Testimony For 9/11 First Responders Health Care Rights

An angry Jon Stewart demands Congress compensate 9/11 responders

Jon Stewarts legendary speech urging Congress to reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund left the nation in tears yesterday. The former Daily Show host slammed government officials for their lack of concern about 9/11 first responders health.

As I sit here today, I cant help but think 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, Stewart angrily explained. Behind me a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me a nearly empty Congress.

His emotional words came after testimony from Luis Alvarez, a retired NYPD detective who, after responding to the 9/11 attacks, is on his 69th round of chemotherapy for liver cancer. Stewart received a standing ovation from the room, and praise from around the country for his impassioned efforts.

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Why Was He Testifying In Washington

A fund that Congress created to help people injured or made ill in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks is running out of money, and a bill was proposed to extend the funds life.

Congress first created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund in 2001 to provide money to the families of people who died or were injured when the World Trade Centers twin towers collapsed in a terrorist attack.

The fund stopped operating in 2004, as planned. But in 2010, lawmakers pushed to reauthorize it, this time to provide medical care and financial aid to emergency personnel, volunteers and survivors who inhaled toxic dust, smoke and fumes at the site of the attack.

The fund began processing claims again in 2011 and was most recently renewed in 2015. Since 2011, Congress has appropriated about $7.4 billion to the fund.

What Did He Say On Tuesday

Mr. Stewart admonished Congress on Tuesday, saying it allowed the fund to run low and failed to secure enough money to pay benefits.

The victims and their families, he said, wanted to know why this is so damn hard and takes so damn long.

At a hearing of the Judiciary Committees Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Mr. Stewart urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow the fund to pay benefits for the next 70 years.

Why this bill is not unanimous consent is beyond my comprehension, he said.

He also expressed disgust with what he viewed as poor attendance at the hearing, noting that although sick emergency personnel and their families had made the trip to Washington, most of the seats in front of them were empty.

As I sit here today, I cant help but think 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, Mr. Stewart said. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.

The subcommittees chair, Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a Democrat, said the hearing appeared poorly attended only because of the room it was being held in.

The subcommittees top Republican member, Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, told Mr. Stewart that lawmakers intended no disrespect, suggesting that they were moving in and out of the hearing, which is common in Congress.

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House Panel Passes 9/11 Victims Fund Bill A Day After Jon Stewart’s Emotional Testimony

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill which would permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Wednesday, the day after comedian Jon Stewart gave impassioned testimony in support of the bill in video that quickly went viral.

The bill will now go to the floor for a full vote in the House of Representatives, where it is likely to pass. It’s unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will take up the bill in the Senate, although Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Wednesday that he was “imploring, pleading, even begging” McConnell to bring the bill to the floor as soon as it passes in the House.

Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show,” gave emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on Tuesday, at times broke down in tears and shouted at the lawmakers, calling them “shameful.”

“I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is … a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one … shameful,” said Stewart at the outset of his remarks. A little over half of the 14-member subcommittee members were present, mostly Democrats.

Watch Jon Stewart’s testimony in its entirety below:

Jon Stewart And The Battle Over The 9/11 Victims Fund Explained

Jon Stewart 9/11 Full Speech

Update: The bill finally passed in both houses and was signed by President Trumpon July 29, 2019. Read the original story below.

Jon Stewart jolted a national conversation about the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund when he blasted Congress in his emotional testimony Tuesday. Stewart told lawmakers they should be “ashamed” of their inaction and for taking “so damn long” on the legislation. One day later, he saw results: A House panel on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill permanently reauthorizing the fund.

But there was nothing new about this battle. It wasn’t even the first time Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, had to rally for action from Congress. An idea that seemed like a natural for bipartisan support setting aside money for the medical needs of first responders and survivors of the nation’s worst terror attack has been tangled up in Congress repeatedly for more than a decade, and there’s still no guarantee of a resolution.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves”: In an emotional testimony, former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart blasted a more than half-empty congressional panel for the delays in reauthorizing a fund for 9/11 first responders

CBS News

This is what led to Stewart’s furious testimony and what still needs to happen before he, and the 9/11 survivors, get what they’ve been waiting for.

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Jon Stewart is speaking up against the shameful congressmen who skipped a hearing about the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. On Tuesday, the former Daily Show host traveled to Washington, D.C. for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorizing the fund, which provides financial support for 9/11 victims and first responders. However, few committee members opted to show up, and Stewart a staunch advocate for the Victim Compensation Fund was left to give a passionate speech to the empty dais. Its an embarrassment to the country, and it is a stain on this institution, Stewart said of the politicians absence. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

What an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting healthcare and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to, said Stewart at the beginning of his speech. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. His voice shaking, he continued, Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful.

The ex-Daily Show host went on to denounce the congressmen for using the Victim Compensation Fund bill as a political tool to help pass an entirely-unrelated laws about transportation and appropriations. We wont allow it to happen again, said Stewart.

They responded in five seconds, Stewart concluded, his voice breaking. They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. 18 years later, do yours!


Jon Stewart Gets A Standing Ovation In Congress

The House Judiciary Committee approved the extension measure following Stewarts congressional appearance, and the bill has not yet cleared the full House or Senate.

McConnell said last week that he has not looked at it lately, but pledged Monday that there is no way we wont address this problem appropriately.

We have in the past. We will again in the future, he said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also chimed in later Monday to criticize McConnell, sharing on Twitter a Daily Beast story about the Republicans remarks headlined: Mitch McConnell Wonders Why Jon Stewart Is All Bent Out of Shape Over 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

Ill tell you why, Schumer wrote online. Because 9/11 victims are getting sicker, and the last time this bill came up you delayed. @SenateMajLdr McConnell: Ease everyones worthy concerns right now by committing to put the bill on the floor for a stand-alone vote as soon as the House passes it.

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An Angry Jon Stewart Demands Congress Compensate 9/11 Responders

Stewart, first responders want Congress to make a compensation fund permanent.

First responders from 9/11 and their advocates, including comedian Jon Stewart, made an emotional appeal to Congress on Tuesday to make a victim compensation fund permanent.

Stewart did not hold back, ripping Congress for failing to fully fund a program to support sick and dying 9/11 first responders and choking back tears.

They responded in five seconds, they did their jobs. With courage grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!” he shouted.

“I’m awfully tired of hearing that it’s a 9/11 New York issue. Al-Qaeda didn’t shout death to Tribeca. They attacked America and these men and women … brought our country back,” he said.

The former Daily Show host and dozens of 9/11 first responders demanded Congress fully fund the 9/11 victims compensation fund that supports ailing first responders who worked at Ground Zero.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which Stewart and others have battled to protect for years, is set to run out of money in December 2020. A new bill, which the House Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Wednesday, would permanently authorize funding for the program.

This report was featured in the Wednesday, June 12, 2019, episode of ABC News’ flagship podcast, “Start Here.”

The room erupted in applause when he finished his remarks.

I cried through all of it, most of us did, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., told Stewart.

Jon Stewart Delivers Emotional Speech After Senate Approves Bill To Extend 9/11 Victims Fund

Jon Stewart, Ilhan Omar, and the Uses of 9/11

Jon Stewart delivered a heartfelt speech Tuesday after the Senate passed a bill reauthorizing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

Stewart joined first responder John Feal and Joseph Zadroga father of the late NYPD detective James Zadroga at a press conference, where he explained: This has been the honour of my life, to work with the men and women behind me.

The former Daily Show host continued, They lifted this 9/11 community on their shoulders and they carried them home, and I will always be so proud to have been associated with it. We can never repay all that the 9/11 community has done for our country but we can stop penalizing them.

Jon Stewart: “We can never repay all that the 9/11 community has done for our country, but we can stop penalizing them. And today is that day that they can exhale I’m hopeful that today begins the process of being able to heal without the burden of having to advocate.”@tictoc

Kyle Griffin

Stewart went on, Today is that day that they can exhale. Unfortunately, the pain and suffering of what these heroes continue to go through is going to continue.

There have been too many funerals, too many hospices, and these families deserve better. Im hopeful that today begins the process of being able to heal without the burden of having to advocate.

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Mcconnell Swats At Jon Stewart Over 9/11 Fund: ‘i Don’t Know Why He Is All Bent Out Of Shape’

Jon Stewart claimed that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has never been dealt with compassionately by Mitch McConnell. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

06/17/2019 02:47 PM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday defended his legislative handling of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund after comedian Jon Stewart, an advocate for 9/11 first responders, accused the Kentucky Republican of slow-walking the acts extension in Congress.

Many things in Congress have at the last minute. We have never failed to address this issue, and we will address it again, McConnell said during an interview on Fox News. I dont know why he is all bent out of shape. But we will take care of the 9/11 victims compensation fund.

Stewart the day before claimed that the fund has never been dealt with compassionately by McConnell, telling host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that the GOP leader has always held out until the very last minute, and only then under intense lobbying and public shaming has he even deigned to move on it.

In terms of getting the 9/11 bills passed, Mitch McConnell has been the white whale of this since 2010, Stewart added.

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