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After Powerful Testimony By Jon Stewart, House Panel Unanimously passes 9/11 Fund

Dan 14 Jun 2019

Jon Stewart's testimony has led to big results. Just a day after the TV personality gave an emotional, gut-wrenching speech about 9/11 first responders, lawmakers have responded by unanimously passing a victim fund.

Stewart's led an interesting career.

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He was more or less an unknown when he took over hosting duties of The Daily Show, a struggling satirical news program, back in 1998. By the time he ended his run 17 years later, the show was one of the biggest on cable.

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The show launched a few careers.

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The show elevated not just Stewart's stature, but also that of his co-stars. Correspondents John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac, both seen here, went on to host their own HBO series, while Stephen Colbert now hosts The Late Show.

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Stewart left the show in 2015.

YouTube | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

He's largely stayed out of the public eye, but has returned to cable a couple of times. One memorable bit in 2016 poked fun at his isolation, where Stephen Colbert was shown visiting Stewart in an isolated cabin.

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It isn't all silliness.

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During his time on The Daily Show, there was always an undercurrent of hard politics amid the jokes and poking fun. It isn't an act, either, as Stewart has remained politically active in retirement.

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Some causes are near to his heart.

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Stewart is a tireless advocate for the surviving first responders who served at Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. This whole saga needs its own explainer.

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9/11 was hell for first responders.

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While many died as the World Trade Center towers collapsed, those that survived the collapse were hardly in the clear. While working at the scene, the dust in the air entered their lungs and caused health problems.

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It's had long-lasting effects.

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Like those effected by the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, the aftereffects of the disaster continue for years afterwards. The toxins from 9/11 caused a litany of diseases in first responders, including forms of cancer.

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Congress has helped...kinda.

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The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was established by Congress to help these victims of the disaster. But crucially, the fund was only intended to be temporary, meaning that 9/11 survivors don't receive lifelong help.

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It's an issue that's near to Jon Stewart's heart.

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At a Judiciary subcommittee earlier this week, he blasted lawmakers who didn't show. "It's an embarrassment to the country and a stain on the institution, and you should be ashamed of yourselves," he said bluntly.

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His testimony was tough but fair.

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He may have slammed Congress, but overall they agreed with the sentiment. They unanimously approved an extension on the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund that ensures first responders will be taken care of on a long-term basis.

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It isn't permanent now, but it's close.

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The earlier version of the fund required first responders to re-apply for financial claims every five years, meaning they risked losing coverage if it was determined they no longer qualified.

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The new bill lasts through 2090.

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October of 2090, to be exact. That will mark 79 years and 1 month since 9/11, meaning it'll be in effect until virtually everyone alive for those events has passed on.

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First responders applauded Stewart.

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He arrived flanked by FDNY and NYPD members. Even though only five members of the 14-person committee showed up to hear his testimony, his comments received unanimous, bipartisan support.

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It gets the ball rolling.

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After his testimony to Congress, a separate version of the bill from the Senate appears poised to pass, as it also has widespread support from Democrats and Republicans alike.

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It's a great story.

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Rather than resting on his laurels, Jon Stewart has worked tirelessly to advocate for a cause that he believes in — and finally, it's yielded results for the hardworking first responders of New York City.

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