Comic Jon Stewart scolded Congress Tuesday for failing to make sure that a victims’ compensation fund arrange after the 9/11 assaults by no means runs out of cash.
Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, additionally known as out lawmakers for failing to attend a listening to on a invoice to make sure the fund will pay advantages for the subsequent 70 years.
Pointing to rows of empty seats at a Home Judiciary Committee listening to room, an indignant Stewart stated “sick and dying” first responders and their households got here to Washington for the listening to, solely to face an almost abandoned dais.
The sparse attendance by lawmakers was “an embarrassment to the country and a stain on the institution” of Congress, Stewart stated, including that the “disrespect” proven to first responders now affected by respiratory illnesses and different sicknesses “is utterly unacceptable.”
Watch that second from the listening to:
Lawmakers from each events stated they help the invoice and have been monitoring the listening to amid different congressional enterprise.
Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson, predicted the invoice will cross with overwhelming help and stated lawmakers meant no disrespect as they moved out and in of the subcommittee listening to, a standard incidence on Capitol Hill.
Stewart was unconvinced.
Pointing to rows of uniformed firefighters and cops behind him, he stated the listening to “should be flipped,” in order that first responders have been on the dais, with members of Congress “down here” in witness chairs answering their questions.
At first, Stewart stated, households wish to know: “Why is this so damn hard and takes so damn long?”
Watch Stewart demand Congress do its job:
The collapse of the World Commerce Middle in September 2001 despatched a cloud of thick mud billowing over Decrease Manhattan. Fires burned for weeks. Hundreds of development employees, cops, firefighters and others frolicked working within the soot, typically with out correct respiratory safety.
Within the years since, many have seen their well being decline, some with respiratory or digestive-system illnesses that appeared nearly instantly, others with sicknesses that developed as they aged, together with most cancers.
Greater than 40,000 individuals have utilized to the September 11th Sufferer Compensation Fund, which covers sicknesses doubtlessly associated to being on the World Commerce Middle web site, the Pentagon or Shanksville, Penn., after the assaults. Greater than $5 billion US in advantages have been awarded out of the $7.four billion US fund, with about 21,000 claims pending.
Stewart and different audio system lamented the truth that practically 18 years after the assaults, first responders and their households nonetheless haven’t any assurance the fund is not going to run out of cash. The Justice Division stated in February that the fund is being depleted and that profit funds are being lower by as much as 70 per cent.
Stewart will get emotional as he accuses lawmakers of ignoring the 9/11 responders:
“The plain fact is that we are expending the available funds more quickly than assumed, and there are many more claims than anticipated,” stated Rupa Bhattacharyya, the fund’s particular grasp. A complete of 835 awards have been lowered as of May 31, she stated.
Home Judiciary Chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat whose district contains the World Commerce Middle web site, stated a 70 per cent lower — or any lower — in compensation to victims of 9/11 “is simply intolerable, and Congress must not allow it.”
Simply as Individuals “stood together as a nation in the days following September 11, 2001, and just as we stood together in 2010 and 2015 to authorize and fund these vital programs, we must now join forces one more time to ensure that the heroes of 9/11 are not abandoned when they need us most,” Nadler stated.