Jon Stewart tries the impossible: shaming Congress

“The people of Congress are not as good people as the people who are first responders.”

With that brick, Jon Stewart showed again last night why his retirement has created such a vacuum of moral authority in the national dialogue.

Stewart returned to the Daily Show last night to call attention to Congress’ refusal to extend health care benefits to workers at the World Trade Center site.

The programs for tens of thousands of police officers, firefighters, construction workers and other workers will expire next year. Efforts to extend them have stalled.

Stewart appeared on the program after taking part in a rally for the victims at which one worker promised civil disobedience if the program isn’t extended by the time it runs out in February.

“I’m tired of going to funerals and explaining to widows that help will be on the way when Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan decide to do the right thing,” John Feal said.

Last week, Stewart accompanied “these heroes” to Washington where they tried to get some help from those who walk the hallowed halls.

None of the politicians had the courage to step outside their office to meet the people who were sent into the toxic ruins.

Scroll to 8:35 in the video.

(Video link)

It was like old times on The Daily Show; Jon Stewart providing illumination on important stories the mainstream news organizations couldn’t care less about.

For the record, senators Klobuchar and Franken have signed on as co-sponsors. All Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation support the legislation. Republican Tom Emmer supports the legislation. Republican congressmen Kline and Peterson have not endorsed it.

  • Postal Customer

    Pretty sad how in the span of less than a year, the best hour of TV disappeared.

  • rosswilliams

    Only in the mainstream media can a celebrity comedian entertainer pass as a voice of “moral authority”. There are plenty of real voices of moral authority out there, they just aren’t paying a public relations firm to bring themselves to the attention of journalists. They actually place value on something other than successful self-promotion.

    • lindblomeagles

      I don’t know Ross; helping WTC first responders seems like the morally, patriotic thing to do, especially since America is sensitive to ISIS, ISIL, and foreign attacks in this day and age. Certainly, the work the first responders did, was MUCH MORE IN LINE with morality than the honoring of “segregationist and slavery advocates,” from the Civil War. I’m pretty confident the first responders DIDN’T CARE about the plane crash victims’ race or color – only that they saved EVERY American. Meanwhile, hundreds of people, SOME IN CONGRESS, want to raise and fly the Rebel Flag in honor of “white men” whose first thought was “Keep my Slaves enslaved.”

      • rosswilliams

        “I don’t know Ross; helping WTC first responders seems like the morally, patriotic thing to do”

        You have to wonder why WTC first responders deserve special consideration of their medical needs over the first responders in other disasters. Or isn’t fighting fires and saving lives patriotic if isn’t in New York City and part of a sensational media extravaganza. The reason other first responders aren’t getting this treatment is that the media, including Jon Stewart, aren’t really all that interested in them. Its all just a way to attract an audience.

        “I’m pretty confident the first responders DIDN’T CARE about the plane crash victims’ race or color – only that they saved EVERY American.”

        I’m pretty sure they didn’t check to make sure the people they saved had an American passport either, they were just doing their jobs.

        • Jay T. Berken

          So you’re putting on a campaign together to lobby Congress to better fund medical needs for ALL first responders…I’m in.

    • Rob

      It would be nice if the Congressional majority demonstrated some moral authority/moral courage, on this or any other important issue. But it would be naive to expect them to change their stripes. Kudos to Stewart for taking up the mantle.

  • Jeff

    The people deliberately elected a do-nothing, obstructionist Congressional majority. They’re just doing what they were elected to do. Shaming by Jon Stewart probably has the opposite effect than he would like.

    • jon

      Perhaps a demand from Trump for CNN to fund the program (In Trump’s name) would be more effective.

    • lindblomeagles

      The Congressional Republican majority was elected to stop Barack Obama’s credibility abroad and domestically, particularly since the Affordable Care Act seems headed toward modest success instead of the abject failure they predicted when ACA was passed. Some Republicans, though they are very small in number now, still harp about Congressional spending, but that issue has largely been dropped by the Party in favor of the more bigoted tenor towards immigration and terrorism. Meanwhile, the Democrats are still discussing policies to improve middle income earners.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        Wait. The CBO announced today that Obamacare will result in the loss of 1 million man hours of work in the next 10 years.

        The largest insurance companies are dropping out.

        The rates are skyrocketing, and the people that we are subsidizing can’t afford to use it because the deductibles are ridiculous. That is when they find a provider that will accept Obamacare.

        Minnesota, and other states that bought into this mess by starting their own exchanges will soon have to start backfilling the growing hole from their general funds (thanks DFL!).

        If that is modest success, I shutter to think what a booming win might look like.

        Finally, I have to say I find your attempt to hang Obama’s foreign policy disasters on the GOP, in light of the fact that he’s had to make most of it happen by executive order, highly entertaining.

        • //The largest insurance companies are dropping out.

          Out of the exchange. You don’t get to drop out of Obamacare.

          // That is when they find a provider that will accept Obamacare.

          They don’t accept Obamacare. They accept the insurance that someone has purchased. People don’t purchase Obamacare. They purchase insurance from companies that may or may not have contracts with providers.

          // people that we are subsidizing can’t afford to use it because the deductibles are ridiculous

          UnitedHealth, he largest insurer, will likely pull out. But their reason for doing so is that people ARE using it. Too many people. And not enough people were buying their policies to offset the claims.

          To be sure, for-profit insurers are finding a difficult market for their product, which suggests, perhaps, that efforts to increase competition among for-profit insurers is putting price pressure on them.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Right Bob. They have pulled the plug on their business relationship. The employees are still stuck with the rest of us.

            And many providers ( most of the top tier) do not accept insurance from Obamacare connected insurance plans.

          • // They have pulled the plug on their business relationship.

            They probably will. But they haven’t yet. They’ve only said they’re not going to put any marketing into the effort this year and they may pull out in 2017,

            //And many providers ( most of the top tier) do not accept insurance from Obamacare connected insurance companies.

            This isn’t new. Many providers don’t accept Medicare either.

            UnitedHealth has 550,000 subscribers in a country of 319 people. It’s a considerable player and if it chooses to stop selling policies, that’s pretty much what the marketplace dictates for them.

            They’ve done very well in the insurance business.

            It’s also important to note that UnitedHealth had very small provider networks in their strategy to keep costs down.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            I wonder Bob, if you see the irony in defending the failure of one government program by highlighting the failure of another government program.

          • I see that you see the irony because you’ve categorized programs as failure/not failure. So, yes, I see how you’re seeing irony.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            The fact that the program has been inundated with high priced claims does not negate the fact that many people who receive subsidized policies cannot afford the deductibles. I can provide plenty of links, but I suspect you know it’s true.

          • Of course, it’s true. It’s true for me too and I don’t have an Obamacare related policy. Part of this is is how companies have decided to keep THEIR benefit costs down, shifting more of the cost to the customer. I’ve no doubt that part of the increase is the result of covering kids til they’re 26 and requiring pre-existing conditions. no doubt at all.

            But I also know that shifting more of the cost of benefits to the individual is a strategy that’s been underway for decades.

            Where will it end? I have no idea.

            Am I surprised that it’s shaking out? No.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            We could slow all of this suffering down tomorrow, by allowing insurance companies to sell plans that cover the expenses consumers want to cover, such as low deductible catastrophic coverage, high deductible emergency care.

            Like they used to.

          • They might very well do that. It will be interesting to see. But that would require legislation that would change Obamacare rather than legislation that would simply repeal it and I don’t think there’s any interest at the Capitol in making what some might say would be a concession.

  • Moffitt

    I didn’t watch the video, but it looks like Stewart is in the tunnel connecting the Capitol and the Senate office buildings.