Jon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund
Jon Stewart on Monday unleashed on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills MORE (R-Ky.) after McConnell said he didn't know why the comedian was "all bent out of shape" about the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund legislation that has been idling in the Senate.
Stewart slammed McConnell for taking a "we’ll get to it when we get to it" approach to the legislation and accused him of using the 9/11 first responder community as a "political pawn."
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The comedian made the remarks on CBS's "The Late Show." After host Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all The Memo: Biden's rivals search for right mode of attack MORE showed a clip of McConnell on Fox News earlier Monday, Stewart surprised the audience by appearing from below the desk.
His appearance prompted Colbert to ask if Stewart was "bent out of shape."
"No, no Mitch McConnell, I am not bent out of shape, I’m in fine shape," Stewart shouted. "Well, I am out of shape, but not because of you. ... I’m fine. I’m bent out of shape for them, these are the first heroes and veterans and victims of the great trillions of dollars war on terror. And they’re currently still suffering and dying and still in terrible need.
"You would think that that would be enough to get Congress’s attention. But apparently it’s not."
Following Stewart's comments, CBS transitioned to another clip of McConnell's interview with Fox News. When asked by host Steve Doocy on why so few members were present at a hearing for the bill that Stewart appeared at, McConnell said lawmakers were likely busy with other matters.
“That frequently happens because members have a lot of things going on at the same time,” McConnell said.
Stewart responded by joking he didn't realized lawmakers were "busy."
"I feel like an asshole," the former host of "The Daily Show" said. "Now I feel stupid. This is a huge misunderstanding. I didn’t know that they were busy. I didn’t mean to interrupt them with their jobs."
"Honestly, Mitch McConnell, you really want to go with that we’ll get to it when we get to it argument for the heroes of 9/11," he continued, before later noting that the senator was "not good at this argument thing."
"Basically we’re saying 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," he said.
Stewart concluded his argument by noting that "we’ve spent a year compiling bipartisan co-sponsors and advocates for this bill, all in the hopes that when it finally gets to the great Mitch McConnell’s desk, you won’t jack us around like you’ve done in the past."
"If you want to know why we’re bent out of shape, meet with them tomorrow, and don’t make them beg for it," he said. "You could pass this thing tomorrow. If you’re busy, I get it."
Stewart gained widespread attention last week after giving emotional testimony at a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund hearing. Stewart has expressed frustration over the lack of movement the bill has received in Congress.
"I want to make it clear that this has never been dealt with compassionately by Sen. McConnell,” he said in a Fox News interview Sunday. “He has always held out until the very last minute, and only then, under intense lobbying and public shaming, has he even deigned to move on it.”
McConnell said Monday that Congress has "never failed to address this issue and we will address it again."
Current compensation for 9/11 first responders will likely run out this year without new legislation. Stewart is currently advocating for a measure that would expand compensation for first responders through 2090.