Jon Stewart rails against Congress during hearing on 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund

Tears, anger at congressional hearing seeking extension of victim fund for 9/11 responders

Tears, anger at congressional hearing seeking extension of victim fund for 9/11 responders

Alvarez's testimony was followed by a furious denunciation of lawmakers from Jon Stewart, the former "Daily Show" host who has championed Ground Zero workers.

The hearing before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee was held as lawmakers from both parties said they want to pass legislation that would prolong the victims fund that is fast running out of money.

"As I sit here, I can't 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", Stewart said. Pointing to rows of empty seats at a House Judiciary Committee hearing room, an angry Stewart said "sick and dying" first responders and their families came to Washington for the hearing, only to face a almost deserted dais.

Stewart was disgusted by the small number of members assembled for Tuesday's hearing, calling the showing an "embarrassment to this country" and a "stain on this institution". "You should be ashamed of yourselves".

Jon Stewart testifies for September 11 Victim Compensation Fund: "Accountability doesn't appear to be something that occurs in this chamber..."

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, Chair of Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention at Hofstra's School of Medicine testified before the panel that now, over 11,000 types of cancer have been reported since the attacks on 9/11, ranging from Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, to debilitating lung cancers.

After a almost five-minute-long tirade against congresssional inaction on the issue, the audience in the hearing room gave the comedian a standing ovation. Never forget their bravery.

Drawing attention once more to the lack of urgency among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Stewart said: "It would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign, but it's not". Your indifference costs these men and women their most valuable commodity: time.

Just as Americans "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 said. This hearing should be flipped. "These men and women should be up on this stage, Congress should be down here answering their questions as to why this is so damn hard and take so damn long".

During his testimony on Tuesday, Stewart said it was embarrassing that first responders need to come to Washington D.C. every year for almost two decades to fight for health care assistance. More than $5 billion in benefits have been awarded out of the $7.4 billion fund, with about 21,000 claims pending. The number of individuals suffering from cancer and filing eligible claims has also ballooned.

Stewart also told lawmakers that he was "sick and tired" of hearing the September 11 terrorist attack described as a "New York issue".

"Al-Qaida didn't shout 'death to Tribeca, '" he said.

"I'm sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I'm angry, and you should be, too, and they're all angry as well and they have every justification to be that way", he said.

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