A recently publicized provision to the Zadroga bill, which provides money to the responders sickened by working at Ground Zero, states first responders will be checked against the terrorist watch list before they are able to receive money for treatment. Cue a very angry Stewart.
“Do you know who else has to go through that sort of check to get their money? Nobody,” Stewart said, explaining that no other recipients of federal money have to go through a similar check. “We’re thinking about arming the Libyan rebels. And I’m not sure we’re even cross-checking them.”
The provision, which Stewart called the “literal insult to injury amendment,” was proposed by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and supported by House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Stearns, whose office said he was unavailable to appear on the show, said in a statement to CNN that the provision was necessary because anyone “who was in the vicinity on 9/11” could submit claims.
Stewart wasn’t buying it: “Oh. You’re insulting the 9/11 responders to weed out the flood of neighborhood passerby terrorists who got sick and waited around 10 years to submit insurance claims.”
Stewart has been a huge advocate for the bill. As Melissa Bell reported, he invited four first responders suffering from Ground Zero-related diseases to the show in December after Republicans threatened to block the bill until the Bush tax cuts were extended. When the bill passed, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) appeared on the show and credited Stewart for his role in its success.