Heard on the Hill

Photo of the day: Stewart smiles at McConnell

Jon Stewart was in the Capitol for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Act vote

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday before the Senate vote to pass permanent authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: Roll Call photo editor Bill Clark gives his first-person report on how he got the above photo that made headlines Tuesday. 

I was standing in the Capitol with a few other photographers outside of the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch for the expected arrival of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. That’s when Jon Stewart — a stalwart advocate for 9/11 first responders — happened to walk by.

[9/11 victims bill heads to Trump‘s desk after clearing Senate]

I followed him over to the Ohio Clock where he made a joke about the clock’s missing hands. Moments later, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell emerged from the Senate floor walking toward his office. I was hoping McConnell would stop to interact with Stewart, but he just walked by as Stewart stood there smiling.

A few minutes later, McConnell walked back to the Senate floor and Stewart thanked him for getting the 9/11 bill a vote in the Senate. 

The Senate later passed the bill by a vote of 97-2. The bill would extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It’s now headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature.

Stewart testified earlier this year to ask Congress to address this measure, where he criticized McConnell and other leaders. On June 25, after pressure and publicity from Stewart, McConnell pledged action on the bill. 

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