Jon Stewart joined lawmakers, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, Rep. Peter King, R-NY and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, on Capitol Hill this past Monday in an effort to persuade Mick Mulvaney to abandon a proposal which could hinder the care first responders are receiving through the World Trade Center Health Program.
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) provides treatment and monitoring to more than 80,000 first responders who developed cancer and other illnesses after being exposed to toxic dust and debris while working at Ground Zero following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The WTCHP is currently overseen by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a worker safety agency. The proposal included in 2019's budget would move oversight of the WTCHP from NIOSH to fit under the Centers for Disease Control. Advocates fear the change could harm the program as the process unfolds.
In The Hill article, Peter Sullivan reports that in a call with White House officials, the administration claims the proposal is “simply reorganizing the program to fit under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while NIOSH, which the official said is more research-focused, would be under the National Institutes of Health.”
Funding for the WTC Health Program took years of work by firefighters, police officers, first responders, veterans, survivors, lawmakers and individuals like Jon Stewart to finally get approved in 2015. It is understandable that those who fought so hard are concerned that the care first responders suffering from 9/11-related illnesses are currently relying on could change.
In a CNN article on the topic, Representative Nadler had this to say:
Jon Stewart was actively and passionately involved in the push for funding of the WTCHP in 2015 and had quite a bit more to say on the proposal. Watch the video here.