Jon Stewart Returns To Washington DC To Fight For 9/11 First Responders

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Jon Stewart with Lawmakers at Capitol

Jon Stewart, the former host of the “Daily Show” continues his ongoing efforts to help 9/11 first responders. This time, taking to the nation’s Capitol, along with lawmakers, to urge the Trump administration not to follow budget director Mick Mulvaney’s lead in changing the oversight of the 9/11 health care program.

Mulvaney has proposed moving the program from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a worker safety agency, to the purview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stewart believes the shift would interfere with care provided to those who suffered health problems after exposure to toxins from clouds of carcinogenic debris at Ground Zero.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) stood alongside Stewart, advocating for leaving the program alone:

“On 9/11, we lost almost 3,000 people, but since 9/11, thousands more are sick, and in some cases extremely sick,” said Maloney. So we have a message for OMB [Office of Management and Budget] director, Mick Mulvaney: Leave the 9/11 health care program alone,” she continued.

Stewart tore into Mulvaney, noting why these protesters were standing together on the Capitol steps in the chilly and windy weather:

“It is a special kind of incompetence that takes a program that was fought for, for 15 years by firefighters, police officers, first responders, veterans, and survivors that has finally come to fruition and is finally working well. It is a special kind of incompetence to want to turn that upside down,” said Stewart.

Stewart sarcastically suggested that school children could learn from what Mulvaney was doing:

“They’ll have to re-write Schoolhouse Rock,” said Stewart. “…as to how a Bill becomes a law, and one guy screws everything up. That will be known forever as ‘Pulling a Mulvaney.'”

Stewart claims that Mulvaney has no reason for the restructuring other than making it more difficult for 9/11 first responders to receive health care. He gave a warning to officials that he would be watching for sneaky measures passed to obstruct the program.

“Don’t try and get sneaky, and put a legislative fix in this, and some kind of omnibus or must-pass legislation that attaches itself like a Remora to a shark,” warned Stewart.

The Trump administration responded to the accusations, saying there was “no effort to change services or funding through the 9/11 program,” and that the change wasn’t from Mulvaney himself, but rather from policy staff at the Office of Management and Budget.

Whatever the truth of that is, they have clearly taken on the wrong person.

Stewart has been a champion for 9/11 first responders for years. Two years ago, he was fighting for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was passed in 2010 after extensive lobbying. It was named for a New York City Police officer whose death was linked to exposure to toxic debris.

When the Zadroga Act passed, it was funded for only five years. Congress refused to make the Act permanent, and people who were suffering made hundreds of trips to Washington to plead for care.

Stewart concluded, “The people of Congress are not as good a people as the people who are first responders.”

Stewart showed up at the offices of Congress, shaming those who refused to sign on to help the first responders. After all of that, he’s returning to fight once more.

See the video from CNN below:

See more about the Zadroga Act below:


Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube

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