It took Jon Stewart publicly shaming Mitch McConnell to get a commitment from the Senate majority leader to bring reauthorization of a victims fund for first responders to the 9/11 attacks to the Senate floor. Now two Republican senators are trying to stop it.
Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul are stalling the bill. Lee has reportedly placed a hold on the legislation, according to the nation’s leading firefighters union. It’s not clear what he’s hoping to achieve with this hold, but it could be that he doesn’t think spending more money on securing the future for 9/11 first responders is worthwhile. He’s like that.
So is Paul, who blocked a unanimous consent request from Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Wednesday to pass the bill. “Any new program that will have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable,” Paul said, never mind that it’s not a new program. The compensation fund ran from 2001-04, then the need of the survivors required that it be revived in 2011. It’s been the law since 2015, but is set to expire next year. This reauthorization would extend it out decades, for the lifetimes of the survivors. That’s to make sure they no longer have to make these continual, demeaning, and exhausting trips to Congress every few years to beg for help.
This isn’t the first rodeo 9/11 responders have had with Paul. Back in 2015, Paul wouldn’t even talk to responders, running away from Dan Moynihan, a former volunteer firefighter and ex-Marine who was lobbying for the reauthorization of the bill.
Lee and Paul were both “all in” and “proud” to vote for the trillion dollar GOP Tax Scam in 2017. Neither of them demanded any offset for those tax cuts, or any of the others they’ve voted for over the years.
Millionaires and billionaires and corporations will never have to beg Rand Paul or Mike Lee for a tax break. But they will demand the surviving 9/11 heroes grovel before them every few years in the name of fiscal responsibility.