Jon Stewart: Congress Shouldn’t ‘Balance the Budget on the Backs of First Responders’

Former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart said Congress should take care of the September 11th first responders since it has been willing to pay for wars.

Stewart joined firefighters and lawmakers to call on Congress to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.


PJ Media asked Stewart, who was scheduled for private meetings with lawmakers, how he would respond if members of Congress mention funding issues when he makes his pitch for passage of the bill.

“I would say then, why are they balancing the budget on the backs of first responders? I don’t think they asked those questions when they created a couple of wars, so why do you have to ask those questions to take care of the people who have been on the front lines of those wars? They should do the same for the veterans, too, by the way, the same thing, you can’t just get tight with money when these guys need help,” Stewart said after addressing the rally outside of the Capitol.

Stewart was also asked what he would like to see from Congress to help veterans.

“What appears to be lacking is a change in the system that brings them into the VA and gets them treatment in a timely fashion,” he said.

In his speech at the rally, Stewart had a warning for the firefighters lobbying for passage of the extension of healthcare benefits for first responders with chronic diseases from the September 11th terrorist attacks.

“Nobody had to lobby you to rush to those towers on that day. I was living in downtown Manhattan and I can never repay the debt. To the first responders who came down and brought stability and humanity, not just to lower Manhattan but to all of New York City and to the entire country – so I am sorry and I apologize and hopefully we’ll never have to do this again,” he said.


“But I also have a warning: today on the Hill you will be exposed to possible toxic levels of bullshit and arrogance. You’re strong men and women, but these are conditions you may never have faced before. Buckle your seatbelts and let’s get this done,” he added.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y) also appeared at the rally.

“We know exactly who is sick and why they’re sick and we’ve developed specialized treatment for them,” Gillibrand said.

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