Comedian Jon Stewart tears into Congress over 9/11 victims fund

Jon Stewart First Responders Testify Before Congress On 9/11 Victim Compensation Funding

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

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".

The VCF announced on February 15 that it was running out of money, which would lead to "significant reductions in awards" to the victims of 9/11, including the first responders who still suffer illnesses from breathing in the fumes of the destroyed World Trade Center in 2001.

Stewart testified before the House judiciary committee on Tuesday alongside first responders and victims, but only a handful of lawmakers appeared at the hearing, prompting a visibly angry Stewart to condemn their treatment of survivors.

The former "Daily Show" host has for years championed the cause of the survivors of the September 11 terror attacks, calling attention to the diseases contracted by first responders and others who breathed in the smoke from the Twin Towers. "And it is an embarrassment to us and our country", Stewart said.

"I can't help what think what an incredible metaphor this room is. a filled room of 9/11 first responders and front on me, a almost empty Congress".

Shortly before the hearing, Stewart was given the turnout coat of FDNY officer Ray Pfeifer, who died from a 9/11-related cancer two years ago.

Stewart spoke alongside Luis Alvarez, a retired detective and 9/11 responder from the New York Police Department who suffers from September 11-linked cancer. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren't here.

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"The plain fact is that we are expending the available funds more quickly than assumed, and there are many more claims than anticipated", said Rupa Bhattacharyya, the fund's special master.

"Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a almost empty Congress", Stewart said. Congress is soon expected to vote on the "Never Forget the Heroes Act", which would extend medical funding for survivors beyond 2020, when it was set to end. In 2015, the fund was allocated $7.375 billion to give out over the next five years. Al-Qaeda didn't shout death to Tribeca.

"I'm sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I am angry and you should be too", added Stewart, who received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his statement. "They did their jobs", he said.

Jon Stewart in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 11. You all said you would never forget.

"Eighteen years later, do yours!"

"Why this bill is not unanimous consent is beyond my comprehension", Stewart admonished. Your indifference costs these men and women their most valuable commodity: time.

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