Old Day-to-day Demonstrate host Jon Stewart testifies within the direction of a Dwelling Judiciary Committee listening to on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
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Comedian and worn Day-to-day Demonstrate host Jon Stewart testified before a Dwelling Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday. Congress is scheduled to vote this week on whether to continue paying for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, and Stewart was joined by loads of first responders — men and females firefighters, paramedics, and police officers who performed rescue and fine-up tasks after the 2001 attacks — to make definite that the authorities keeps funding their scientific costs. (By 2007, seven out of ten first responders faced respiratory disorders on account of Ground Zero contamination; a full bunch secure gotten most cancers.)

Stewart at one point grew frustrated with how few subcommittee participants had been at the listening to. “I’m able to’t serve nonetheless think what an gorgeous metaphor this room is for all of the direction of that getting neatly being care and advantages for 9/11 first responders has come to,” he acknowledged in a passage that went viral on social media. “On the serve of me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a almost empty Congress. In wretched health and dying, they brought themselves down right here to talk to nobody.”

In step with a congressional spokesperson, very finest two subcommittee participants if truth be told didn’t present up — Democratic representative Eric Swalwell and Republican Man Reschenthaler. Others cycled out and in of the listening to, leaving many seats unfilled for long stretches of time. However the funding direction of has indeed been messy. Ever for the explanation that James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act survived a Republican filibuster in 2006, its future has been unsure, with the Victims Compensation Fund standing as its very finest fragment that is funded through 2020. This week’s vote would lengthen it, nonetheless advocates need Congress to pay for it completely — even because the authorities claims that money is running so low that future payouts may be decrease by as a lot as 70 percent.

For his or her fragment, Republicans secure consistently hostile extension on the premise that it is too costly, with many resisting the fund’s renewal till doing so grew to turn into politically dangerous. These perils had been most obvious as of late within the dustup round Representative Ilhan Omar’s comments about 9/11. Talking in March at a gathering hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relatives, the Minnesota Democrat referred to the attacks as “some of us did one thing” whereas describing how they had been aged to define criminalizing Muslims. Republicans seized on her statement to accuse her of trivializing the violence. Representative Dan Crenshaw tweeted that Omar’s remarks had been “inconceivable,” whereas President Donald Trump shared an inflammatory video that interspersed her phrases with footage of the planes colliding with the Twin Towers. Both men secure fraught legacies when it comes to 9/11. After the towers collapsed, Trump famously boasted that he now owned the tallest building in decrease Manhattan (he didn’t) and claimed that “hundreds” of Current Jersey Arabs had cheered the destruction (they didn’t). Crenshaw, a worn Navy SEAL, had but to enhance renewing the Victims Compensation Fund in April when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused him of being a hypocrite for attacking Omar. He has since climbed onboard as a co-sponsor.

Republican resistance to extending the fund appears to secure equally reversed in contemporary months, nonetheless its long-term sway exhibits how unparalleled extra instinctive it has been for politicians to invoke 9/11 to arouse bigotry than to agree that its victims deserve neatly being care. The GOP especially has spent years fearmongering round Islamist terrorism and funneling Islamophobes into positions of political strength, culminating most lately with the elevation of Trump — who sought to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. outright — to the White Dwelling. Omar’s comments very finest trivialize the 9/11 attacks by the least generous (and most Islamophobic) assumption: that their speaker — one of many first two Muslim females sworn into Congress — is extra inclined to exonerate the perpetrators than mourn the victims. But even as Republicans pursue this reasoning, their insistence on depriving People of free neatly being care in general has translated accurate into a noncommittal stance on extending particular treatment to 9/11 first responders.

The occasion’s claim that authorities-funded care is simply too costly already clashes with public sentiment: A majority of People enhance a single-payer concept, in step with polling. But applying this argument to the boys and females affected with neatly being concerns after mining Ground Zero for bodies has compelled Republicans to pit their stance on neatly being care in opposition to their posturing because the categorical occasion that treats 9/11 with the reverence it warrants. To this point, they secure barely had to reckon with the steady dimension of their long-term space — that keeping neatly being-care costs for first responders is simply too costly to pursue in perpetuity, nonetheless Islamophobia is free and wins votes. Stewart’s advocacy and the Omar controversy appear to secure shifted the GOP’s mark-encourage prognosis. However the historical precarity of Republican enhance stays key to understanding the occasion’s priorities.

Caring for 9/11 Victims Is Expensive. Islamophobia Is Free.