Last night, Jon Stewart made his first return to the set of The Daily Show since retiring back in August to continue his fight for the permanent continuation of the Zadroga Act. If permanently extended, the Zadroga Act would guarantee health care to 9/11 first responders, many of whom have been suffering from cancer and other illnesses due to the toxic air they breathed following the attack.
This seems like a no-brainer, right? Why would anyone oppose or block a bill that provided health care to first responders who are now sick because they were exposed to poisonous air in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history?
Well, that’s exactly what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did. And why did he do it? Because when he was unsuccessful in using it to get leverage for loosening oil export regulations, he pulled it from the transportation bill that was passed last week.
Yes, Republican Mitch McConnell is using a bill that many 9/11 first responders need just to survive – to try to benefit big oil.
Now I would say this is shocking, but it isn’t. A few years ago Republicans also blocked a benefits package for veterans to try to leverage new sanctions on Iran.
Naturally this hasn’t set well with Jon Stewart, who absolutely lit into McConnell last night.
After playing clips of Stewart going through the halls of Congress trying to meet with several different Republican senators (mostly unsuccessful), Stewart was brought back for a second segment where he pointed out that McConnell publicly fought for (and rightfully so) health care for national emergency workers within his own state – a bill that actually cost more than the Zadroga Act, emphasizing the point that this clearly isn’t about money.
“Here’s what I believe it is: Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn’t give a sh*t about anything but politics,” Stewart said. “The first responders were told the Zadroga Act would be included, they were told this last week, in the transportation bill passed last week. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pulled it out of the transportation bill when he didn’t get concessions about loosening oil export regulations.”
“So he used the health of the 9/11 first responders as a bargaining chip to make it easier to sell oil?” Noah asked.
“Yes, Trevor, he’s not nice!” Stewart sternly replied.
That’s when Noah suggested that Stewart “get the band back together,” so to speak, by reuniting the original four members of a panel that was assembled back in 2010 and proved vital to getting the Zadroga Act originally passed. Sadly, when they transitioned over to the table for the panel, only one man was there. You see, in the five years since, two have become too sick to travel while another member had passed away.
Stewart then called on the people to take to social media using the hashtag #WorstResponders to tell McConnell to pass the Zadroga Reauthorization Act and to stop playing politics with the lives of these first responders.
I would highly suggest everyone take a few moments out of your day to watch Stewart’s comments. It’s Stewart at his best, calling out the cowardice of Mitch McConnell as only he can.
Watch the video below via Comedy Central:
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