WASHINGTON DC — Comedian Jon Stewart joined advocates on Capitol Hill on Monday to pressure White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to abandon a proposal that they say could threaten health care treatment for 9/11 first responders.
During Monday’s meet-up, the former Comedy Central “Daily Show” host chided Mulvaney for trying to separate the World Trade Center Health Program from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
“It is a special kind of incompetence that takes a program that was fought for for 15 years by firefighters, police officers, first responders, veterans and survivors, that has finally come to fruition, and is finally working well — it is a special kind of incompetence to want to turn that upside down,” Stewart said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
The World Trade Center Health Program — which is currently housed under the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health — provides monitoring and treatment to more than 80,000 people who suffer from illnesses while working at Ground Zero, and advocates fear that the change would harm the program.
At the event, Stewart ripped Mulvaney for potentially upending the program for thousands of first responders and survivors, saying to “stop screwing them.”
“I don’t know if there are children watching, but I urge parents to put their children in front of the television to learn about government this way,” Stewart said. “They’ll have to rewrite Schoolhouse Rock as to how a bill becomes a law, and one guy screws everything up. That will be known forever as ‘pulling a Mulvaney.'”
Joining Stewart outside the US Capitol were New York Reps. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, Peter King, a Republican and Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat. All three lawmakers are opposed to a possible bureaucratic reshuffling and called on Mulvaney to stand down.
“In the name of the men and women who rely on the World Trade Center Health Program, in the names of their families and children and grandchildren, we call on Mick Mulvaney and the administration to reverse this proposal and protect the responders and survivors of the September 11 attacks,” Nadler said.
“We made a promise to them that this program would be there for them no matter what,” he added. “I refuse to walk back that promise because of some misguided, uniformed policy proposal.”