Media

WATCH: Jon Stewart Returns to Daily Show to Shame Pols Over 9/11 First Responders Bill

He especially let Mitch McConnell have it.

Photo Credit: Comedy Central

A bearded, casually dressed Jon Stewart returned to "The Daily Show" last night on a mission: to call out politicians—particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—for not renewing the Zadroga Act, which helped pay for healthcare coverage for first responders who became ill as a direct result of 9/11. (The 2010 bill recently expired and needs to be renewed.)

After explaining the issue, Stewart looked at the camera and (under)stated, “The only conclusion I can draw is the people of Congress are not as good a people as the people who are first responders.”

He then cut to a pretaped segment showing Stewart accompanying first responders, many of whom are coping with “cancers and pulmonary disease,” to Washington D.C., where they visited the offices of members of Congress to directly confront them about supporting the bill. They mostly encountered support staff and empty promises of callbacks, though an accidental run-in with Ohio Republican Rob Portman was effective in getting the senator to sign on to the bill.

Stewart spent the majority of the second half of the segment going after McConnell, whom he said “is the key to getting this done, and so far he has been an enormous obstacle, unwilling to move the bill forward for purely political reasons.”

Stewart added, "Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn't give a shit about anything but politics. The first responders were told the Zadroga Act would be included... in the transport bill passed last week. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pulled it out of the transportation bill last week when he didn't get concessions about loosening oil export regulations."

The segment includes a visit from the first responders “struggling with their health” who appeared on a panel "The Daily Show" put together back in 2010. Of the four who originally appeared, only Kenny Specht was in attendance. Two others are too sick to return and a third has since died—a testament to the desperate need for the bill’s renewal. 

Watch the video:

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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