Stewart testified before a House Judiciary committee on Tuesday afternoon, speaking to the ongoing need to fund medical care for first responders who worked around the World Trade Center site on and after September 11, 2001.
“Five seconds. That’s how long it took for FDNY, for NYPD, for Port Authority, for EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public. Five seconds. Hundreds died in an instant. Thousands more poured in to continue to fight for their brothers and sisters,” Stewart said in an impassioned testimony before the committee. “They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours.”
In the almost two decades since 9/11, Stewart has worked independently of his former “Daily Show” hosting duties to argue for attention to and funding for firefighters, police officers, and other emergency personnel who are still experiencing adverse health effects due to inhalation and other lingering injuries from the relief effort.
Multiple “Daily Show” segments bolstered that effort, many surrounding various efforts relating to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a means for providing aid to those workers affected. Beginning in 2010 when the resolution was held up in the Senate as part of a Republican-led filibuster, Stewart urged Congress to put aside partisanship to ensure that the act would pass.
Stewart has largely been absent from TV following the end of his “Daily Show” run, occasionally dropping in for segments on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and an appearance on the debut episode of the HBO series “2 Dope Queens.”
But frequently, his cameos behind desks on various outlets have been devoted to this issue. When he came back to “The Daily Show” in December 2015, he similarly railed against Congressional inactivity on renewing the Zadroga Act. “The only conclusion I can draw is that the people of Congress are not as good a people as the people who are first responders,” Stewart said before a field piece highlighting his various trips to Senators’ offices alongside individuals in need of medical care.