Jon Stewart gives emotional testimony over 9/11 victim fund, slams Congress (updated)

He received a standing ovation from some members of Congress.


Andrew Wyrich


Update 2:21pm CT, June 12: Following Jon Stewart’s viral and passionate speech in support of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday reauthorized it. The new bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives, though CBS reports that it may run into challenges under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart got a standing ovation from some members of Congress after he gave emotional testimony during a hearing regarding the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

On Tuesday, during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, Stewart advocated on behalf of 9/11 responders receiving healthcare.

He called the subcommittee a “metaphor” for the “entire process” of getting healthcare and benefits for the 9/11 first responders because the hearing was not attended by many members of the subcommittee.

“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting healthcare and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” he said. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.”

Stewart then thanked the many 9/11 victims in the audience.

“They responded in 5 seconds. They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later–do yours. Thank you.”

The former Daily Show host’s statement was met with a standing ovation from the audience, with several members of the subcommittee also clapping along.

As CBS News points out, Congress passed a 9/11 victims bill in 2010, but part of the bill–the victim’s compensation fund–wasn’t funded until the end of 2020.

“Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country, and it is a stain on this institution,” he said. “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.”

You can watch Jon Stewart’s opening statement, in its entirety, here.


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