It’s only been four months since the legendary Jon Stewart left his almost-17-year-long post at The Daily Show (breaking our hearts in the process), but last night, he returned — and for an incredibly important reason.
Jon joined Trevor Noah on the show last night not to take back his post, but to talk about the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Compensation Act, a health care act for 9/11 responders that Jon helped champion when he hosted The Daily Show. The act, which passed Congress in 2010 and went into effect the following year, would provide funding and compensation for first responders who may have fallen ill due to their heroic acts in the aftermath of the tragedy over 14 years ago. Unfortunately, parts of the bill expired in September, and the rest of it will expire by next October if we don’t take action.
“[There’s] no reason not to renew it permanently, but they did not renew it anyway,” Jon explained, adding that politicians who have served as massive obstacles to the bill’s renewal — such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — are doing so on a purely political basis:
Jon also showed a graphic of senators who don’t support the renewal of the Zadroga bill, but who have posted messages on social media about “never forgetting” the attacks.
A particularly sobering moment of the episode involved a repeat of 2009, when Jon had four 9/11 responders on the air. However, when he invited them on, only one of them — retired firefighter Kenny Specht — was well enough to appear on TV. Two of them are seriously ill, while another has passed away.
Specht explained that he spoke to McConnell, who promised to attach the bill to a larger omnibus spending bill, but that they still needed to find the funding. “[He] gave us his word that he’s going to attach us tot he omnibus bill,” Specht said. “. . . so as this bill comes up this week, we’re going to keep him to his word. And this show is doing that.”
If you want to get involved in Jon’s campaign to renew the Zadroga bill, you can tweet your support using the hashtag #WorstResponders. Thanks, Jon, for always standing up for what’s right, time and time again — even in retirement. Watch the clip below.
(Image via Comedy Central)