Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

‘You Should Be Ashamed: Jon Stewart Rebukes Congress For Half-Empty 9/11 Survivor Hearing

“Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress,” comedian and commentator Jon Stewart berated a small, furtive group of congress members at a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning Stewart, who has mostly stepped away from public life since his departure from the Daily Show in 2015, led a group of ailing 9/11 first-responders and survivors to speak at a victims’ hearing before Congress, only to find a large number of the judiciary committee absent. Stewart, who is known for his biting wit and jovial political commentary, appeared contorted in rage. His work with sick and dying 9/11 survivors has been going on for a decade.

The 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund is running on fumes — starting in 2020, victims’ claims will not be filled. Stewart is the celebrity face of a bi-partisan effort to permanently fund survivors’ claims, led by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, as well as Representatives Jerry Nadler and Pete King, Axios reports.

“Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one,” Stewart, testifying as an “advocate for 9/11 responders and survivors” spat. Behind him, first-responders and survivors of the 9/11 attacks nodded. “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.”

Over 90,000 victims and first-responders are still being treated or monitored in connection to 9/11, the Daily News reports. Twenty-thousand cases are pending, and those filed since early 2018 are only paid out up to 30%. For many survivors, this means that ongoing suffering — and in some cases, slow death — is exorbitantly expensive.

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.