Democrats in the Senate want to know why Republicans aren’t standing behind the heroes of 9/11.
A new YouTube video released by Senate Democrats reminds viewers that Republicans, who have supported 9/11 first responders in years past, are blocking legislation that would help them now.
All but one of the 42 Republican senators stood together last week to wage a successful filibuster against the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. The bill would provide $7 billion in benefits to workers that responded to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Many of those workers are now experiencing health problems such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.
The video begins by recalling that then-President George W. Bush stood at Ground Zero after the attacks and said, “The nation sends its love and compassion to everybody who is here.”
Republican senators are then seen in days after 9/11, hailing the efforts of those workers that were the first to respond.
“We watched as average Americans, finding extraordinary courage, became heroes,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said. “Firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel responded with remarkable bravery and determination. And many gave their lives so that others may live. The strength, the generosity of ordinary Americans was the sole bright spot on that dark day.”
“In any terrorist attack, in any serious national disaster that we have in this country, it will not be the federal government who is first on the scene,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) noted. “It will be our police officers and firemen, hundreds of which we lost in New York City doing what they were paid to do: respond to the scene, give aid to those in distress at the risk of their lives. And certainly the biblical injunction, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, than that he lay down his life for his friends’ applies to those people.”
“We’re grateful for the heroism of firefighters everywhere on 9/11,” Sen. Lamar Smith (R-TX) noted.
“I want to pay special tribute to those people who were so heroic as to give up their own lives, as to protect the lives of so many others,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced. “There have been so many acts of heroism and self-sacrifice, the firefighters who gave their lives, the firefighters who worked day and night, the volunteers who gone in there.”
“So why aren’t Republicans supporting our 9/11 heroes now?” the video ends by asking.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring up the Zadroga bill once more in the lame duck session, after the Senate votes on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia Tuesday.
At least one Republican senator is still vowing to block the legislation. An aide for Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma told The Wall Street Journal that the senator will not allow the bill to go through before Christmas.
Comedy Central host Jon Stewart noted last week that only Al Jazeera, the middle eastern news network, had dedicated significant coverage to the bill’s defeat by Senate Republicans.
This video is from Senate Democrats, uploaded to YouTube Dec. 21, 2010.