By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — Comedian Jon Stewart appeared on Capitol Hill to join other advocates who are opposing a proposal they said could threaten health care treatment for 9/11 first responders.

CNN reports that Stewart on Monday criticized White House budget director Mick Mulvaney for attempting 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.

Jon Stewart – “If you want to stand up and say we love our first responders, stop screwing them.”

— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) March 5, 2018

The program, which is housed under the NIOSH, provides monitoring and treatment to more than 80,000 people who suffer from illnesses after working Ground Zero. Mulvaney outlined a plan in the White House’s 2019 budget proposal to shift the health care program under the oversight of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Newsday.

Several New York lawmakers who joined Stewart said restructuring the program and shifting its resources would hamper officials’ ability to provide assistance to the affected first responders and survivors, according to Politico.

Stewart, a longtime advocate of the program, asked Mulvaney to “stop screwing” thousands of first responders and survivors.

“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.'”

Meghan Burris, Office of Management and Budget press secretary, disputed claims that the proposed change would reduce funding or support for the health care initiative.

“President Trump and this budget fully fund the vital World Trade Center Health Program, which support the brave men and women still dealing with health effects of 9/11,” Burris said in a statement. “There will be zero change in the benefits our heroes currently receive and wholly deserve. The proposal simply attempts to align long-term needs of a reimbursement program.”

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