Jon Stewart visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to push Congress to extend federal benefits for 9/11 first responders that expire at the end of the month.

The former "Daily Show" host said it's "embarrassing" to resort to public lobbying to renew the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides medical treatment and assistance to police, firefighters and others who worked on the ground in New York after the terrorist attacks.

"I am here today basically to apologize to all these men and women, that you had to come down here today," Stewart said. "I am embarrassed for our country. I am embarrassed for New York."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told Shepard Smith today that she's pushing to permanently extend the measure.

"These are our heroes," Gillibrand said. "We need to be with them when they are so ill and literally are dying of horrible diseases that they have because of the toxins that were released at Ground Zero.

She urged viewers to call their senators and representatives and ask them where they stand.

"This is really a measure of who we are as Americans, and we should stand by our first responders in the same way that we stand by our veterans," Gillibrand said. "Please be heard on this issue, because nothing ever works in Washington unless regular people stand up and demand action."

Watch more above.

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