Saturday, December 18, 2010

Republicans Give 9/11 Responders the Shaft and Media Takes a Nap

Republicans Give 9/11 Responders the Shaft and Media Takes a Nap

Comedy Central's Jon Stewart devoted almost all of his last show of the year to ripping into Republican senators for blocking a bill that would help 9/11 first responders.

House Resolution 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, 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 bill is "win-win-win-win," Stewart said Thursday. "Just fucking do it!"

As the lame duck session began, all 42 GOP senators signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promising to prevent a vote on any legislation until the Bush-era tax cuts had been extended for every American, including those that make over $250,000 a year.

The next week, Republicans staged a successful filibuster to keep the Zadroga bill from coming up for a vote.

Congress approved an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and Obama was expected to sign it on Dec. 17, but there was still no plan to vote on HR 847.

ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to even mention 9/11 responders during their nightly news coverage of the lame duck session.

"This is a job for Fox News, the nation's leading source of 9/11-based outrage," Stewart declared.

But the only Fox News analyst to cover the Zadroga bill conveniently omitted that Republicans were holding up its passage.

Stewart noted that the only network that fully covered the topic was Al-Jazeera.

"Our networks were scooped with a sympathetic Zadroga Bill story by the same network Osama bin Laden sends his mix-tapes to!" Stewart exclaimed. "This is insane!"

Why would conservatives give 9/11 responders one of the biggest middle-fingers in political history - besides the innate conservative contempt for American values? They were holding help for the responders hostage in order to get an extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. The Anti-American Chamber of Commerce was on hand to offer encouragement - ‘U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Lobbied To Help GOP Kill Bill To Provide Health Care To 9/11 First Responders  

The Chamber fought to help kill the 9/11 compensation bill because it was funded by ending a special tax loophole exploited by foreign corporations doing business in the United States.

The “U.S.” part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a misnomer. As ThinkProgress reported, the Chamber represents dozens of foreign businesses in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Bahrain, India, Brazil, and other countries. An investigation of the Chamber turned up recent fundraising documents from the Chamber soliciting foreign contributions to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6), the tax entity the Chamber used to run nasty campaign ads against Democrats earlier this year.

In September, the Chamber sent a letter officially opposing the 9/11 first responders bill, called the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.” The Chamber warned that ending the tax loophole would “damage U.S. relationships with major trading partners” and “aggravate already unsettled financial markets.” A lobbying disclosure filed with the Senate confirms the Chamber contacted lawmakers to help kill the bill.

In typical fashion, the Chamber has not revealed which of its foreign members had asked them to kill the 9/11 bill.