Comedian Jon Stewart and 9/11 first responder John Feal were on Capitol Hill on Monday to push for a renewal to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, set to expire in 2020.
In an interview with Fox News, Stewart highlighted the plight of first responders still reeling from the impact of their work at Ground Zero, traveling to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress to help them.
“It’s unconscionable,” Stewart said. “It cannot continue.”
“We cannot force the men and women that so heroically went down to Ground Zero, and stayed there for nine, ten months — disrupting their lives as well,” he added. “We can’t force them to have to fight for this anymore.”
Watch the video below, via Fox News:
— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) February 25, 2019
Despite the bipartisan push to support the first responders, Feal credited the slow-walking from Congress to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.
“You know, many people have moved on since 9/11,” Feal explained, “But for those affected by 9/11, this is the longest day that hasn’t ended for us.”
The latest push for benefits for 9/11 first responders comes after the passage of the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act in 2011, which secured health care monitoring and treatment for victims and first responders for illnesses attributed to the attacks through 2090.
But the separate September 11th Victim Compensation Fund will only remain open for new claims through 2020 and is currently running out of money and slashing payouts as claims rise in anticipation of the looming expiration.
In a later interview with CNN, Stewart and Feal underscored the severity of the situation.
Stewart pointing to Feal’s numerous trips to Washington while still dealing with his own health issues and attending funerals of his fellow first responders who have lost their lives to complications stemming from their work at Ground Zero.
Watch the video below, via CNN:
The 9/11 victims fund is set to expire in 2020. Comedian Jon Stewart is campaigning for Congress to extend it.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) February 25, 2019
“The idea that 18 years later, they’re still tugging on the hemline of the government to get this bill through and to get it funded properly and to make it permanent, is truly beyond comprehension,” Stewart said. “Even for a dysfunctional body.”