The 53-year-old paid a visit to his old Comedy Central stomping ground on Monday to bring attention to an issue he said he cares about very deeply.
Donning a gray T-shirt and his ever-growing scruffy beard, Stewart blasted Congress for not automatically renewing the Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, a now-expired bill providing healthcare to first responders who worked at the site of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I want to get some attention paid to it, but I was realizing that I don’t have a show and nobody gives a s— anymore,” he told host Trevor Noah.
“Of course there was no reason not to renew it permanently!” Stewart said of Congress members and the bill that expired in September.
“These first responders, many sick with cancers and pulmonary disease, have had to travel at their own expense to Washington, D.C., hundreds of times to plead for our government to do the right thing.”
The former Daily Show host said there is only one conclusion he could draw from law makers’ failure to renew the bill: “The people of Congress are not as good of people as the people who are first responders.”
Stewart said that he accompanied some of the first responders on one of their many trips down to the nation’s capital: “I don’t really have a life anymore I’m unemployed now, so I’m really available all day.”
He, along with a small group, visited the offices of Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and Rob Portman to plead with the lawmakers to renew the bill.
Stewart said Senator Portman signed on to the bill that night.