Last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was noncommittal about whether he would support the permanent reauthorization of the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. The fund enables 9/11 first responders, surviving families, and others battling deadly ailments such as cancer—like the teachers and children who attended school near the toxic World Trade Center site—to receive basic benefits and most importantly, health care.
Incredibly, there has not been a long-term fund established and year after year, surviving first responders, many of whom are battling end stage cancers, make the trek to Washington, D.C. to fight for their own care. Former talk show host Jon Stewart has been a champion for these survivors and last week he got a standing ovation after his impassioned testimony to Congress. The very next day the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to move a bill forward that would permanently authorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. Next it will go to the full House for a vote and then onto Mitch McConnell’s graveyard of bills in the Senate.
Stewart specifically called out Mitch McConnell for blocking progress on a long-term solution for nearly a decade, saying, “In terms of getting the 9/11 bills passed, Mitch McConnell has been the white whale of this since 2010.” Stewart appeared on Fox News on Sunday to drive home that point that 9/11 responders are dying, seven in the last week alone, while Mitch McConnell plays games.
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) June 16, 2019
So, how did McConnell respond on Monday? By appearing on Fox News to say he can’t understand why Jon Stewart is “all bent out of shape.”
Mitch McConnell complains that Jon Stewart is "all bent out of shape" and "looking for some way to take offense" about the Senate once again delaying funds for 9/11 survivors and first responders. pic.twitter.com/M3APBbVQ2i
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) June 17, 2019
McConnell doesn’t seem to understand the stress this uncertainty causes for the responders, survivors and their families. Instead of spending the time they have living life, they are down in D.C. groveling for the basic funding they were promised. Stewart said as much in his interview:
“I think this community is at the end of their rope,” Stewart told Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday.” “I think there’s a feeling of disbelief, that they can’t understand why they have to continually saddle up and ride down to Washington and make these appeals for something that should be simple but is somehow, through politics, made agonizingly difficult.”
For nearly a decade he has needlessly put these families through more turmoil and heartbreak. No doubt this will be one of the more shameful chapters in McConnell’s cancerous career.