Jon Stewart is putting his political knowledge and popularity into action by heading to Congress next week to lobby for the renewal of a health bill that supports 9/11 first responders.
The former “Daily Show” host will offer his support to continue a program that monitors thousands of people for health problems related to their work at Ground Zero, the senator leading the lobbying effort said Tuesday.
Stewart will join Ground Zero first responders making the rounds on Capitol Hill and “will help them amplify their voices” in promoting the need to renew the program, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told USA Today.
Established in 2010, the World Trade Center Health Program monitors 33,000 people for 9/11-related illnesses but is set to expire at the end of the month, just over two weeks after the 14th anniversary of the attacks.
Ailments stemming from the tragedy include respiratory and digestive disorders, and mental health conditions, along with secondary conditions related to disease progression or complication from treatment.
Stewart first took up the cause of the rescuers in 2010, calling out lawmakers for not passing the bill that provided $1.6 billion for the health and monitoring program by devoting an entire show to the issue and inviting survivors on the share their stories.
A native New Yorker, Stewart aired a moving tribute to the victims of the attack on his first “Daily Show” episode after 9/11 that aired on Sept. 20, 2001.
Following a nine-minute tearful description of his personal view of the horrific events, he said: “The view … from my apartment … was the World Trade Center … and now it’s gone, and they attacked it.
“This symbol of American ingenuity, and strength, and labor, and imagination and commerce, and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the South of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can’t beat that.”
Stewart retired as host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Aug. 6 after 16 years.