Following the terror attacks, no one could forget Jon Stewart’s 9/11 speech on the first day that The Daily Show returned.
Being particular to those who’ve suffered lifelong health repercussions, Stewart has expended a great deal of his so-called “retirement” fighting for 9/11 survivors. He expressively torn into members of Congress when they failed to show up for related hearings. He stood by with advocates (for first responders) after the U.S. Senate voted to renew permanent authorization of September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Now, the Trump Administration has stealthily tapped (for almost four years) money away from a fund championed by Stewart — the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program — to the tune of $4 million.
The Treasury Department has been withholding these funds for some unknown reason.
Program director Dr. Davie Prezant detailed the funds’ disappearance to the NYDN (in a situation that Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King is calling “disgraceful”) while explaining that the program hasn’t even received a letter to explain the defunding. Nineteen years after the attacks, the pandemic is making the New York City funding situation measurably worse for these first responders:
“Here we have sick World Trade Center-exposed firefighters and EMS workers, at a time when the city is having difficult financial circumstances due to COVID-19, and we’re not getting the money we need to be able to treat these heroes.”
For months, Rep. King has been attempting to get an answer from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to no avail. Nor has the White House responded to the NYDN‘s attempts to secure a remark. King, however, hopes to pull Mike Pence aside during the Tunnel to Towers event on Friday: “Forget the politics. I don’t want to sound naive, but this is terrible, absolutely inexcusable… for even $1 to be being held back is indefensible.”
The annual 9/11 anniversary is a time when people invariably turn to Stewart’s 9/11 monologue while reflecting on how hard he’s fought for first responders in the aftermath. As Rising with Krystal and Saagar host Saagar Enjeti wrote on Twitter, “Jon Stewart’s first tearful monologue after 9/11 is something I re-watch every year.”