House panel votes to extend funding for 9/11 victims after being scolded by Jon Stewart

David Caplan
June 12, 2019 - 1:44 pm

Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart lends his support to firefighters, first responders and survivors of the September 11 terror attacks at a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee as it considers permanent authorization of the Victim Compensation Fund, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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WASHINGTON (1010 WINS) -- Just one day after Jon Stewart scolded Congress Tuesday for failing to ensure that a victims' compensation fund set up after the 9/11 attacks never runs out of money, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill to extend funding for the September 11th Victim's Compensation Fund.

The measure now heads to the full House, and if it becomes law, funding will be available until 2090.

"This is a huge step forward and it wouldn’t have happened without the powerful testimony of our 9/11 first responders and survivors or the leadership of our congressional delegation," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "'Never forget' isn’t a slogan, it’s a promise. The House must honor that promise."

Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, angrily called out lawmakers for failing to attend a hearing on a bill to ensure the fund can pay benefits for the next 70 years. Pointing to rows of empty seats at a House Judiciary Committee hearing room, Stewart said "sick and dying" first responders and their families came to Washington for the hearing, only to face a nearly deserted dais.

The sparse attendance by lawmakers was "an embarrassment to the country and a stain on this institution," Stewart said, adding that the "disrespect" shown to first responders now suffering from respiratory ailments and other illnesses "is utterly unacceptable."

Lawmakers from both parties support the bill.