(CNN) — Former late night host and 9/11 first responders advocate Jon Stewart choked up Tuesday while slamming Congress over health care for responders to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think, what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Many lawmakers on the panel did not show up for the hearing, leaving the committee room mostly empty.
“Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress,” Stewart said.
He slammed those absent members of Congress for disrespecting the personal sacrifice that former 9/11 first responders made to appear before them.
“Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one,” he said, tearing up. “Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country and it is a stain on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren’t here. But you won’t be, because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”