In an emotional reproach captured on CSPAN (see the video below), the former Daily Show host said, “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. Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.”
Stewart, on the verge of tears at times, and his hands shaking, continued, “Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country, and it is a stain on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren’t here, but you won’t be, because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”
An outspoken advocate for 9/11 first responders, Stewart said the “callous indifference and rank hypocrisy” of Congress members who once tweeted “Never Forget 9/11” is robbing the responders of their “most valuable commodity: Time, the one thing they’re running out of.”
The hearing is on a bill that would ensure funding for health benefits for the responders for the next 70 years.