The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund championed by Jon Stewart has cleared the House, but the former Daily Show host described today’s expected victory as merely “the semi-finals.”
And the former Daily Show host vowed that he and his fellow advocates won’t let up the pressure until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell keeps his promise to vote on the legislation before the Congress’ August 2 recess.
McConnell, who last month on Fox & Friends questioned why Stewart was all “bent out of shape” over the issue, released a statement today after the House passed the bill on a 402-12 vote: “The first responders who rushed into danger on September 11th, 2001 are the very definition of American heroes and patriots. The Senate has never forgotten the Victim Compensation Fund and we aren’t about to start now. Nothing about our shared goal to provide for these heroes is remotely partisan. We will consider this important legislation soon.”
McConnell’s use of the word “soon” isn’t likely to assuage the concern of Stewart and the responders. On MSNBC today, Stewart, appearing with 9/11 recovery worker and advocate John Feal, told host Andrea Mitchell that they want McConnell to stick to his August 2 promise. “Then everyone can exhale and go home,” he said.
“John Feal has given 15 years of his life, half a foot and his kidney to this cause,” Stewart said. “It’s in sight, but it’s not done. I don’t think any of us feel comforted.”
Stewart made headlines last month when he delivered a blistering reproach at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, telling the absent members of Congress, “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.”
During today’s appearance on MSNBC, Stewart didn’t let up, saying that the $10.2 billion cost of the funding over 10 years is “in a governmental sense, nothing.”
“To watch a group of individuals who are running a trillion-dollar deficit, who are throwing tens of billions of dollars at various bailouts at their whim, talk about this bill with fiscal concern over a 10=year period … it’s like watching Joey Chestnut bang down 70 hots dogs on July 4th and then turn down a Coke for a Tab because he’s watching his figure. It’s nonsense. and it has to stop.”
Stewart later reiterated the comparison at a news conference. Check it out:
And here he is at last month’s hearing: