‘Where are they!?’ Emotional Jon Stewart rips Congress for not showing up to hearing with 9/11 first responders

(Image: screenshot)

Jon Stewart blasted lawmakers for their “shameful” decision not to show up for a 9/11 victim’s fund hearing in Congress.

The former “Daily Show” host lambasted Congress Tuesday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on the re-authorization of  the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund, shaming the lawmakers who did not even attend the hearing for creating “a stain on this institution.”

“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process of getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart said in his opening remarks at a hearing to urge Congress to pass a bill to extend funding for the VCF past 2020.

“Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak and no one — it’s shameful,” the 56-year-old comedian said, visibly emotional as only five members from the subcommittee were reportedly at the hearing, according to New York Post’s Nikki Schwab.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren’t here,” he added, “but you won’t be, because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”

“None of these people want to be here,” Stewart said, referring to the sick and injured survivors gathered for the hearing. “But they are. They’re not here for themselves. They’re here to continue fighting for what’s right.”

He noted how every lawmaker in the room had tweeted, “Never forget the heroes of 9/11,” on the anniversary of the terror attack.

“Well here they are!” he said. “And where are they?”

“It would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign, but it’s not,” Stewart continued as he shook his head in disappointment. “Your indifference costs these men and women their most valuable commodity: time. It’s the one thing they’re running out of.”

The expiring VCF has been warning that it is running out of money and could face cuts of 50 to 70 percent, according to The Hill, even as supporters urge that the compensation funding for survivors should be made permanent and not subject to re-authorization.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler and the top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins, are sponsors of the new 9/11 bill which will be up for a vote on Wednesday.

“The Sept. 11 attacks happened nearly two decades ago, but that must feel like yesterday to the heroes who gave up their safety and health to rescue victims,” Collins said Monday. “Congress must ensure these Sept. 11 heroes receive the care they deserve. This program mitigates the damage first responders and their families have experienced as a direct result of their sacrifice on behalf of others.”

Stewart expressed his frustration with the length of time it has taken to address the legislation, asking why “this is so damn hard and takes so damn long.”

“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.

He concluded his fiery remarks to a standing ovation.

“They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility,” he said. “Eighteen years later, do yours!”

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
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Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers


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