Jon Stewart tells Fox News’ Shep Smith that ‘so-called fiscal hawks’ are blocking the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund: ‘The hypocrisy is just stunning’
Comedian and activist Jon Stewart on Tuesday joined Fox News’ Shep Smith on Tuesday to discuss the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), hours after testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in support of the “Never Forget the Heroes Act” — a bill which would extend the VCF authorization through 2090.
Speaking with Smith, Stewart once again blasted Congress for failing to fund the VCF explaining that 9/11 first responders are now “resigned to fighting for the benefits.”
“It’s not going to go away,” Stewart explained. “We’ve been through this three times prior, a lot of little shenanigans that go along. We’re hoping this time — the question is why do we have to be down here to do this again. Why can’t it just go forward?”
Asked by Smith who in Congress is refusing to provide full benefits to 9/11 victims, Stewart explained:
I would say it’s the so-called fiscal hawks who despite passing a $1.5 trillion corporate tax cut for Exxon now claim that the percentage, which is basically a rounding error off of the deficit, is going to maybe blow up the country ten years from now. It’s irresponsible, it’s disingenuous. … If I read you some of the tweets and quotes that these individuals write about these 9/11 First Responders and how we owe them such a great debt and how our freedom is based on their character and their struggle and turn around and vote the bills down, the hypocrisy is stunning.
“Everybody down on the pile, all the students that came back, all the survivors that decided to stand their ground in that neighborhood and not allow themselves to be cowed by a terrorist act and stayed in their homes were put in grave danger,” Stewart later explained. “I’ll never forget the smell. The fires. What was burning. We knew everything from asbestos to mercury to concrete, they were ingesting it and breathing it in.”
“This was a declaration of war,” he continued. “We have used the attack on 9/11 to generate all kinds of policy and spending. Somehow when it comes down to the first responders and the trade unions and the volunteers and the survivors, all of a sudden, ‘Hey, man, it’s your neighborhood. It’s not our neighborhood.’ I’ll never forget — the reason why I work so hard on this, I feel like I can never repay the debt that these men and women gave to not just New York City but to the country. By their moral courage and actions, they showed us what was so worthy of our country. Why it was so important for us to fight back. I feel like I can never repay that. That’s why we work so hard. It’s why it hurts so much to hear them dismiss it as a regional issue.”
Asked about the lack of attendance from member of Congress at Tuesday's hearing, Stewart told Smith it “drove me nuts.”
“Either 9/11 is a priority or it wasn’t,” Stewart said. “Your deeds have to at some point match your tweets and your words. Today it didn’t. It’s our hope, all of us, that their deeds will match it tomorrow and that this will get done and that — look, no amount of money will end the suffering and the grieving that these men will endure. They can stop making it worse. They can stop adding uncertainty and stress and financial hard shop to the lives of these folks. That’s all this is about.”
Watch the video below: