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9/11 survivors still aren’t getting the healthcare they need. But Jon Stewart isn’t giving up on them.

by Leo Shvedsky

March 5, 2019
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Is there anything less politically controversial than providing health care for the first responders on the scene after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001? You’d think it’s a total a no-brainer, an easy win for elected leaders on both sides of the aisle. Republicans get to show their resolute support for those fighting the war on terror and Democrats get to double down on their compassion and support of expanding social services to those most in need.

And yet a funding renewal bill in Congress remains stalled even as some of those heroes from 9/11 are literally sick and dying, some already dead, nearly 20 years after a day that changed the course of world history.

Former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart has been on the case for years. And now he’s back at it, bringing some much deserved righteous anger to a Congress that somehow has refused to act through both Democratic and Republican leadership cycles.

Technically, Congress has repeatedly passed funding bills for first responders but they have each been tethered to 5-year-timelines and the Justice Department said current funds are quickly running out.

In an interview on CNN, Stewart said: “The idea that 18 years later they’re still tugging on the hemline on the government to get this bill through and get it funded properly is truly beyond comprehension."

As the Washington Post reports, he was joined in the interview by John Feal, a 9/11 first responder who lost his foot that day and has attended 181 funerals of fellow first responders afflicted by injuries and illnesses stemming from that day.

“I love Jon Stewart. He’s my friend. But I love Kenny Specht and Rich Palmer and Michael Connor more," Feal said. "Those guys are sick. Those guys are dying. So we’re gonna challenge every member of Congress in this town. We’re going to challenge their empathy. We’re going to challenge their humanity.”

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9/11 survivors still aren’t getting the healthcare they need. But Jon Stewart isn’t giving up on them.