It’s that time of year again: time to reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, which is on the verge of running out of funds. For reasons that are not fully explained, Congress has refused to make this a permanent fund to help the survivors and families of those who either died on that horrible day or have suffered from deadly ailments like cancer as a result of being a first responder or part of the extensive clean-up. Instead, survivors and the families of those who’ve perished are forced to make a trek to Washington, D.C. each year to grovel before Congress, fighting to further their benefits and health care.
Jon Stewart has been a tireless advocate for the 9/11 responders and leads the delegation to D.C. each year. Yesterday, Stewart absolutely blasted members of Congress who failed to show for the hearing. It’s a good thing he did because we are talking about it today instead of the annual hearing being relegated to back page news. Precisely because of the attention Stewart brings, Mitch McConnell was asked whether he supports reauthorizing the fund because it is running out of money and McConnell said, “Gosh, I hadn’t looked at that lately. I’ll have to. We’ve always dealt with that in the past in a compassionate way, and I assume we will again.”
For the record, that is not a statement in support of reauthorizing the fund. It’s a mealymouthed response that leaves a lot of wiggle room. It’s likely they will reauthorize it, so why is it so hard to say for certain that is the case?
Question: "The 9/11 victims compensation fund is running out. Do you support reauthorizing the fund?"
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "Gosh, I hadn't looked at that lately. I'll have to. We've always dealt with that in the past in a compassionate way, and I assume we will again." pic.twitter.com/nigdhH4rNS
— The Hill (@thehill) June 12, 2019
Of course, McConnell is one of many, if not most, Republicans who make it an annual tradition to send out social media messages saying “we’ll never forget.”
We'll never forget the innocent lives taken from us 16 yrs ago. Nor will we forget those who have stood guard to protect us every day since. pic.twitter.com/LiaJ0uFaZ4
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 11, 2017
Gee, golly, gosh, if only there were a way for Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans to let their actions speak louder than their words by authorizing a permanent fund for the victims and their families.