Shame! Shame! Shame!
Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart returned to his old stomping grounds last night to do what he as been doing for years: fight to get Congress to fund health care services for sick and dying 9/11 responders.
Hundreds of firefighters, cops, and other emergency responders and work men developed an array of illnesses, including lung and other cancers, that can be directly tied to smoldering rubble of the Twin Towers.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act failed to pass the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress earlier this year amid partisan bickering that has left Washington in perpetual gridlock.
The Sept. 30 expiration of the act means that by October 2016, all special services for the 9/11 heroes will expire.
“It’s soon going to be out of money. These first responders, many sick with cancers and pulmonary disease, have had to travel at their own expense to Washington, D.C., hundreds of times to plead for our government to do the right thing,” Stewart said.
“The only conclusion I can draw is that the people of Congress are not as good a people as the people who are first responders.”
He suggested that public shaming, one by one, of the nation’s elected officials opposed to Zadroga is now the only alternative.
He said that’s how he, with several 9/11 responders in tow, got Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to drop his opposition.
Stewart saved the biggest bombs for Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, whon he said is “unwilling to move the bill forward for purely political reasons.”
“Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn’t give a s—t about anything but politics.”
Follow John A. Oswald on Twitter @nyc_oz.
John Oswald is The Forward’s deputy digital media editor.