UPDATED 11:44 AM PT — Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is responding to recurring attacks from comedian Jon Stewart, who is alleging McConnell and other members of Congress have left 9/11 victims behind.
Stewart has argued that Congress will put a new bill that would renew the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund with protections through 2090 on the back-burner. The compensation fund works to process claims of health problems from 9/11 victims, and has received $7.4 billion in funding since its inception in 2001. The current bill was renewed in 2015 and is set to expire in 2020.
In a recent testimony to Congress, Stewart expressed his frustration that a renewal for the bill had not already been approved:
“And I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation for why. It’ll get stuck in some transportation bill or some appropriations bill, and get sent over to the Senate, where a certain someone from the Senate will use it as a political football to get themselves maybe another new import tax on petroleum.”
McConnell fired back in an interview Monday, saying he wasn’t sure why the former “Daily Show” host was “bent out of shape.” He assured the bill would be fully funded. The Senate majority leader also said he felt Stewart was just looking for a way to “take offense,” and assured Congress that the Senate would address the problem “accordingly.”
Stewart has continued to come after McConnell, and appeared on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to reiterate his complaints.
“You love the 9/11 community when they serve your political purposes, but when they’re in urgent need you slow walk, you dither, you use it as a political pawn to get other things you want,”said said on the show.
Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are backing up the onslaught from Stewart and claimed that shaming McConnell would spur him to take action. While McConnell hasn’t given an exact time for when he will bring the legislation to the Senate floor, Democrats in the House said they will vote on it before their August recess.