Jon Stewart lashes out at Congress over 9/11 victims fund

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WASHINGTON (AP) Comedian Jon Stewart Tuesday scolded Congress for failing to ensure that a victims' compensation fund set up after the 9/11 attacks never runs out of money.

Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, angrily called out lawmakers for failing to attend Tuesday's hearing on a bill that would ensure the fund can pay benefits for the next 70 years. Pointing to rows of empty seats at a House Judiciary Committee hearing room, Stewart said "sick and dying" first responders and their families came to Washington for the hearing, only to face a nearly deserted dais.

He called the lack of attendance "an embarrassment to the country and a stain on the institution" of Congress.

Lawmakers said they support the bill and were monitoring the hearing amid other congressional business.

Tuesday night, Senator Jerry Moran (R) Kansas applauded Stewart's efforts on Twitter saying, "We must support first responders who acted heroically in the wake of the attacks."

Moran says he's co-sponsoring the effort to permanently reauthorize the program. Eyewitness News also spoke with a local first responder Tuesday who says he's happy to see the call to action.