Not With My Money

9/11. The Republican Party wraps itself up in this event even though several of their prominent members were responsible for making it a greater tragedy. George W. Bush (and who knows who else in his administration) ignored warnings while Rudy Giuliani, against the advice of knowledgeable advisors, placed New York City’s Emergency Response Center in the building that was the target. Actions speak louder than words and I’d like to explore a few recent Republican actions in response to 9/11.

Last week Congress overrode President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Admittedly Republicans had the “help” of most Democrats but it appears that almost all of the override votes were cast with the political ad repercussion of a sustain vote in mind. The bill allows the families of 9/11 victims to sue a foreign government complicit in the 9/11 attack. Right wing mythology holds that the Saudi government financed the attacks. The legal reality is that the chances of proving that in court are almost nil and therefore the law does nothing for the survivor families.

Now contrast that with the history of the Zadroga Bill. That legislation originally passed shortly after 9/11 and provided for medical assistance for first responders along with volunteers who aided in the recovery efforts who are now suffering from serious and often eventually fatal medical problems as a result of the air they were breathing at ground zero. The legislation had a sunset provision in it and had to be renewed in 2015. That renewal was delayed in the Republican controlled Congress for two months. It was only the efforts of comedian Jon Stewart and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) that finally embarrassed Republican leadership to bring it to the floor and a vote.

Many Republicans still voted against the Zadroga Bill; their concern was where the money to pay for it was coming from. There were many heroes on 9/11 and America can be proud of that fact. It should also be thankful for those men and women who ran into, not from burning buildings or left their jobs and families in the following days to help in the recovery effort. Those latter heroes were actually lied to by the Bush administration. Christie Todd Whitman, Bush’s EPA Secretary, certified that the air was fine to breathe even though it wasn’t.

In the veto override if any money was spent it would be that of a foreign government. The Republican get to look like patriots without it costing a cent. That is a good deal in their eyes. In the Zadroga Bill the United States government foots the bill. I guess the moral of the story is the Republicans defend patriots as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. Think about that the next time you are inclined to believe them and when you vote in November.

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