After Jon Stewart’s impassioned testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on June 11 on reauthorization of federal benefits for 9/11 first responders, members of the committee voted unanimously on a bill to permanently reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. CBS reports that some of the fund’s beneficiaries had their benefits slashed in half in February, when fund administrators said it was running out of money.
Stewart took Congress to task, publicly blasting members for not even bothering to turn up at the hearing and for not authorizing a more permanent solution for 9/11 first responders, many of whom are fighting cancer and other ailments that have been linked to the work they did in the toxic area of lower Manhattan on 9/11 and afterward.
“Why this bill is not unanimous consent is beyond my comprehension,” Stewart admonished. He also lambasted Congress for those that consider the measure a “New York” issue.
“More of these men and woman are going to get sick and they’re going to die, and I’m awfully tired of hearing this is a ‘New York issue,'” he said. “Al-Qaeda didn’t shout ‘death to Tribeca.’ They attacked America.”
The bill now goes to the House, where a Democratic majority will likely pass it with ease; then it goes to Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard. Will he set aside partisan politics and pass this bill? Earlier today he said he was sure the Senate would do “something,” but he most certainly did not commit to endorsing the permanent reauthorization of the 9/11 fund.
Question: "The 9/11 victims compensation fund is running out. Do you support reauthorizing the fund?"
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "Gosh, I hadn't looked at that lately. I'll have to. We've always dealt with that in the past in a compassionate way, and I assume we will again." pic.twitter.com/nigdhH4rNS
— The Hill (@thehill) June 12, 2019