Jon Stewart‘s nine-minute impassioned opening statement at a House committee meeting last week garnered millions of views and sparked a new discussion on how 9/11 victims survivors and first responders are compensated, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brushed the discussion aside.
“Many things in Congress happen at the last minute,” McConnell said on “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning. “We’ve never failed to address this issue. And we will address it again. I don’t know why he’s all bent out of shape.”
Stewart has been an outspoken advocate in ensuring compensation for 9/11 victims for years. Many of the surviving first responders came to the Capitol last week with Stewart to make their case. Barely any House members on the committee showed up.
“I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart said at the committee meeting. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.”
Watch Stewart’s opening statement below:
Jon Stewart testifies for September 11 Victim Compensation Fund: "Accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber…I'm sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I am angry, and you should be too." pic.twitter.com/njxJzSmzSJ
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 11, 2019
Stewart didn’t name names in his statement but later went on Fox News to call out McConnell.
“I want to make it clear that this has never been dealt with compassionately by Senator McConnell,” he told Chris Wallace on Sunday. “He has always held out until the very last minute, and only then under intense lobbying and public shaming has he even dared to move on it.”
McConnell didn’t see a problem with the lack of attendance by his colleagues.
“Well, that frequently happens because members have a lot of things going on at the same time, and it sounds to me like he’s looking at some way to take offense,” he said.
Watch the video below:
Mitch McConnell complains that Jon Stewart is "all bent out of shape" and "looking for some way to take offense" about the Senate once again delaying funds for 9/11 survivors and first responders. pic.twitter.com/M3APBbVQ2i
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) June 17, 2019
Currently, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund needs to be refunded by Congress every five years. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have introduced a bill that would extend the funding.