After taking a week off for his infant son Billy’s heart surgery, Jimmy Kimmel held the little boy as he returned to his late-night show on Monday night.
The late-night host was crying from the first moment of his monologue as he pleaded with Congress to restore and improve children’s health coverage, a cause he has championed since Billy was born with a heart defect in April.
“Hi, I’m Jimmy. This is Billy,” Kimmel said, holding his son. “He’s fine everybody. He may have pooped, but he’s fine.”
Billy needed one surgery just after birth and had a follow-up operation last week.
As he got emotional, Kimmel joked that “Daddy cries on TV, but Billy doesn’t.”
He thanked the guest hosts who filled in for him last week while he took time off to care for Billy.
Kimmel kept up his ardent advocacy Monday night, urging Congress to restore the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has been left unfunded and stuck in a political stalemate since September.
He praised the “very bright and talented doctors and nurses” at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles who treated Billy and kids like him who, according to the host, are having their health “especially threatened right now” because of the federal funding that has run out for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Kimmel said CHIP is “not a partisan thing,” mentioning that Democrats and Republicans “overwhelmingly” supported it until now.
The program has become a “bargaining chip,” Kimmel said, and is “on the back-burner while they work out their new tax plans.”
“Which means parents of children with cancer and diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month,” he said. “Merry Christmas, right?”
Kimmel said it’s “disgusting” that Congress is putting tax cuts for millionaires ahead of the lives of children.
“If these were potato chips they were taking away from us, we would be marching on Washington with pitchforks and spears right now,” he said.
Kimmel offered his viewers an update on Billy’s health. “Billy is doing great, by the way. He has one more surgery,” Kimmel said. “They say he’s probably on track to win at least a bronze medal in the Olympics in 2036.”
(You can watch Kimmel and his son in the video, above.)
— With files from the Associated Press