In 2010, "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart committed himself fully to advocating for the passage of the Zadroga Bill, a measure that would "provide $7 billion in benefits for those who first responded on 9/11 and are now experiencing subsequent health problems such as cancer and respiratory disease," that had somehow stalled in Congress. He dedicated the entirety of his final show of the year to the topic. The White House all but admitted that their bully pulpit wasn't as influential as Stewart's. And when the bill finally made it into law, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) -- a firm champion of the bill herself -- came to the Daily Show to personally thank Stewart for his efforts.
All seemed fine. But let's flash forward to last week, and check in with our own Michael McAuliff:
A provision in the new 9/11 health bill may be adding insult to injury for people who fell sick after their service in the aftermath of the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks, The Huffington Post has learned.
The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost.
As you might imagine, this wasn't the sort of thing that Stewart would let slide. And on Tuesday night's "Daily Show" -- in an angry, searing, hilarious outburst -- he pulled out the long knives and sunk them deep, excoriating the lawmakers for delivering "one final kick in the nuts" to first responders, and going so far as to elucidate, via "chalkboard," the essential 'Glenn Beckening' of their thought process.
Along the way, Stewart pointed out some -- shall we say -- idiotic inconsistencies:
STEWART: You want 9/11 responders to know that before they get their chemo money, for the cancer they got sifting through World Trade Center rubble, in the hopes of identifying those we lost in the attack, you have just one last, tiny loose end to tie up: we just have to make sure you're not a terrorist. Actually, you know who else has to go through that type of check to get their money? Nobody. Not for Medicare, not for Medicaid, not for Social Security, not farm subsidies, not oil subsidies, not FEMA disaster money. Though if your name is Katrina, they have to verify that you're not a hurricane.
"You want billions in bailout money?" Stewart added. "You get that without getting cross-checked against the terrorist watchlist. The only thing they want to know in that case is: did you start the financial meltdown in the first place. Because if you did, here's your f***ing money."
WATCH: Part one
WATCH: Part two