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Jon Stewart continues to push Congress on behalf of 9/11 victims

Jon Stewart on Sunday continued to push for extending the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, but said congressional politics was making passage “agonizingly difficult.”
“I think this community is at the end of their rope,” Stewart told Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday.” “I think there’s a feeling of disbelief, that they can’t understand why they have to continually saddle up and ride down to Washington and make these appeals for something that should be simple but is somehow, through politics, made agonizingly difficult.”
Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show,” gave emotional testimony last week before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, where he continued his push to fully compensate first responders and survivors suffering from illnesses linked to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Payouts from the fund have been capped at $7.4 billion, and no more claims will be accepted after 2020. Stewart wants to extend the fund through 2090, about the length of the lives of all the people who may become sick.
“They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours,” he told Congress last week, criticizing lawmakers for failing to pass legislation to ensure continued funding for the compensation fund.
After his testimony, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill the next day, which still needs to be approved by the full House and the Senate. Stewart on Sunday said he was concerned the bill wouldn’t pass in the Senate, specifically because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not supported it.
“In terms of getting the 9/11 bills passed, Mitch McConnell has been the white whale of this since 2010,” Stewart said.
Stewart said that while the bill had bipartisan support and was “not a Republican-Democrat issue,” he thought it would stall because of Republican opposition.
“Not all Republicans oppose this, but everyone who has opposed it is a Republican, and it’s unacceptable,” he said on Fox News. “They’ve done it now for years, Sen. McConnell, Lindsey Graham is the one who is the head of Judiciary — he’s the one who’s going to be negotiating, whether it’s five or 10 years.”
“We cannot make these individuals continue to live in the agonizing uncertainty of not knowing that these programs will be extended and that they will be able to move on with their lives,” Stewart said.