Last night, a slightly grizzly prospector (though not a gap-toothed Santa) returned to late night television: Jon Stewart resurfaced on The Daily Show, to beg Congress to "end the fuckery" over not renewing funding for the Zadroga Act, which gives health care compensation and treatment to first responders of the 9/11 attacks as well as their families. See, the Republicans have been dragging their feet on passing the legislation, leading Stewart to declare, "The only conclusion that I can draw is that the people of Congress are not as good a people as the people who are first responders."
Stewart explained to Trevor Noah, his successor, why he was on the show: "I have this issue I care about very deeply, and I was wondering, I want to get some attention to it. But I realized I don't have a show... and nobody gives a shit anymore." Then he revealed he went to the U.S. Capitol, with first responders (one of many trips he's made to support their cause), to try to talk to Senators who have not signed the bill yet, to see if "shame" works. He also explained to one Senate staffer that he no longer has a life and can wait there for a long time to actually meet with her boss:
The one lawmaker they did meet was Senator Rob Portman, who was on his on his way to vote "to make sure people on the terrorist watch list can still buy guns." Portman claimed the bill hasn't been passed because they were "trying to find the money," but then first responder John Feal pointed out that Portman and his colleagues are really good at finding money when they want it. Portman ended up signing onto the Zadroga Act renewal that night: Stewart said, "So maybe shame does work."
The former Daily Show host pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell passed similar healthcare legislation for workers in his state, Kentucky. Stewart said as far as he can figure, "Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn't give a shit about anything but politics." The Zadroga Act was supposed to be included in a transportation bill, but "Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pulled it out of the when he didn't get concessions about loosening oil export regulations... He's not nice!"
Noah suggested Stewart reprise the panel of four first responders he had on the show in 2010. Stewart did so, but the only person sitting there with Stewart was Kenny Specht, who revealed that two were ill and one had died.
Stewart suggested people Tweet at McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other lawmakers who hadn't signed on to support the Zadroga Act, with #EndTheFuckery or #WorstResponders, "Do the right thing! Pass the Zadroga Reauthorization Act!"