It looks like Shep Smith isn't the only person on Fox News that was shamed by Jon Stewart into getting a bit tougher on these Republicans for filibustering the first responders bill. Chris Wallace brought up Stewart's interview with first responders to Jon Kyl, and in response we just got more sorry excuses as to why he still would not support the bill.
Last week, an incensed Jon Stewart invited 9/11 first responders to the Daily Show to offer their thoughts on this callous behavior. “Disgusted” and “hurt” by their actions, the rescue workers admonished Republicans for using the holiday schedule and Senate process as an excuse to block desperately needed help. Recounting their criticism today, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) why he couldn’t “find a way to give these heroes peace of mind when it comes to health care.” Ignoring their emotional pleas, Kyl insisted that, while he didn’t want to deny care to those who desperately need it, he just refuses to do so “in a hurry”. [...]
Kyl’s excuses fall flat in the face of fact. Any cries for more time ignore that both the Senate and House version of the Zadroga bill have been available to Kyl since 2009. If a year with the text wasn’t enough, Kyl was free to attend the bill’s June 2010 Senate hearing he insists never happened. Had he shown up, he would’ve learned that the bill is very clear on who is eligible for funding. First responders can pursue compensation established by the Zadroga bill to bolster any coverage already received from the current health fund set up in New York City.
As Jon Stewart pointed out earlier this week as well, after refusing to give these first responders health care, none of these birds should ever be allowed by our media to invoke 9-11 for political purposes ever again. Let's hope this thing gets passed despite the continued obstruction by the likes of Kyl and his fellow shameless Republican cohorts.
Transcript via Nexis Lexis.
WALLACE: Joining us now, two Senate leaders, the number two Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and his Republican counterpart, Jon Kyl of Arizona.
And, Senators, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
KYL: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Senators, before we talk about issues that have gotten a lot of attention, I want to ask you about one that hasn't, and let me begin with you, Senator Kyl.
Will you vote this week for the 9/11 bill that would guarantee health care for the first responders who went to Ground Zero?
KYL: I don't know if that bill is going to come before us, but Dick tells me just a moment ago that he thinks that it will. First question is, is it amendable, or is it a take it or leave it proposition? The bill hasn't been through committee. There are problems with it.
And I think the first thing Republicans will ask is do we have a chance to fix any problems that may exist with it. And it's a lot of money, and so I -- my early response is that I am skeptical about that bill.
WALLACE: Senator Durbin, Republicans in addition to Senator Kyl say - - Republican critics say that you're creating a $7 billion entitlement, and that the way you pay for it is a corporate tax increase.
DURBIN: Chris, I can tell you that Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer have been working nonstop for the last several weeks with Republicans to try to find the best way to approach this. These first responders literally risked their lives when they went to Ground Zero. They came from all over the United States. And now many of them are struggling with health problems that are clearly directly related to that experience. To turn our backs on these brave people is the wrong thing to do.
Will it cost money? Yes. Is it the right thing to do? Yes. We've got to find a way to fund it that's acceptable to Republicans and Democrats.
WALLACE: Well, but let me ask you about that, Senator Durbin. If this 9/11 bill is so important, why is it that the Democratic- controlled Senate never held a vote on this bill until the lame duck session and that President Obama, the best we can tell, has never said a word about this bill in public?
DURBIN: I can't tell you where the White House stands. I hope they support it. I will just tell you this. This is like an airport that has a runway closed down. We have aircraft stacked up trying to land. We have bills stacked up over the Senate because of the nonstop filibusters that we faced this year.
I wish we could have done things more efficiently and more directly. But we've lurched from one 30-hour delay to another 30-hour delay to more Senate quorums. This Senate could be much more efficient. It should be. And it should be much more bipartisan than this.
WALLACE: Will this bill pass?
DURBIN: I think this bill will pass, and I do believe that Senators Gillibrand and Schumer are working night and day to make that happen.
WALLACE: Senator Kyl, one of your objections is -- he was blaming you for the filibusters. One of your objections is that Harry Reid put too many items on the agenda in this lame duck session.
I want to play what you said and then how one of the first responders who now has cancer reacted. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYL: It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without doing -- frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): I'm here to say that you won't find a single New York City firefighter who considers it a sign of disrespect to work in a New York City fire house on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, everyone -- everyone -- praises the first responders as heroes. You say you're skeptical about this bill. Why not find a way to give these heroes peace of mind when it comes to health care?
KYL: Well, first of all, they should have peace of mind when it comes to health care. The question is what and how.
And when you try to do it, as you said in your introduction, in a hurry, in the lame duck session, without a hearing, without understanding what the ramifications are and whether we can amend the bill, you're doing it in the worst way.
For example, there's already been a settlement for a lot of these people, a fund that has been set up for them to receive funding. Will the people that are supporting this legislation be able to participate in that fund? Nobody has been able to say. Why $7 billion? What will the requirements for qualification be for the money?
Nobody wants to deny care to people who -- and by the way, these are primarily people who helped to clean up the site in the aftermath of 9/11, and there weren't adequate precautions taken in some cases to deal with potential health issues. And to the extent that they've become ill, they do need to be taken care of.
It's one thing to make an emotional appeal, to say we need to care for somebody who did something good. It's another to do it in a sensible way. And that's all we're asking for. You bring it up in the lame duck session with no opportunity to amend it, and you're probably going to make bad legislation.
WALLACE: Let me move to...
KYL: All of this could have been done earlier, I might add.