Robert Gibbs, his usual stuttering self, failed to give any answers to Jake Tapper from ABC News concerning the White House's position, or lack thereof, on the 9/11 responders bill, known as the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act. "Well, look, we -- look, I think the -- if I'm not mistaken -- is this for a vote today or a previous vote?" Gibbs asked flustered when Tapper asked him about the White House position. Then when asked why the White House has not come out about this necessary legislation for the heroes who gave their all in the response to the nation's worst tragedy, Gibbs stutters again. "I think -- let me check it out. I mean, I think we've set up a statement of support, a prior administration position, and we are supportive of the legislation."
It has not. A check on the White House's past statements reveals none was made about this bill.
Later Tapper asks again. "Well, until this morning, I hadn't been asked. But I will -- let me check and see. Let me go back and look through the call list and see if he has."
The legislation passed in the House but was held up in the Senate. It puts aside $7.4 billion for those who responded to the tragedy in New York City when terrorists crashed two planes into both Twin Towers. These men and women rushed in when everyone else ran away. And they stayed for months, digging through the rubble, trying to give peace to the families and friends of those lost that day. Since then, many have gotten sick from the toxins they worked tirelessly all that time. Many have died. Including James Zadroga, a NY City police officer, who died of respiratory disease. A disease he acquired during the rescue and recovery operations following the 9/11 attack. A non-smoker, with no history of asthma or any other respiratory disease, he spent over 450 hours in the operation, volunteering his time to search for survivors and remains. He died January 5, 2006.
The Senate felt it necessary to hold up this bill until the tax cut bill and unemployment legislation was completed.
Not only has the White House not commented or pushed this legislation like they have the tax cuts, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal and the Omnibus spending bill. Senators from both sides have used it as a political football. The Democrats call the GOP horrible names for holding up this legislation. The GOP has blamed the lack of passage on the Democrats for not being reasonable on other bills.
So who HAS done anything about this legislation? Has FoxNews dedicated outrage at not passing this important and life preserving legislation for American heroes? Has ABC (who asked Gibbs today about), NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC or any other major media outlet taken this cause up? Any celebrities choking up before the cameras about this travesty? Maybe started a telethon to help, like they did for farmers and AIDS and the world's poor?
Nope. None of them. Even Tapper didn't make any waves until one person spoke up.
Jon Stewart. That's right. A comedic pundit on Comedy Central took this up last night. He brought on representatives from the New York City Fire Department, Police Department, DOT and the Tradesmen union. All suffering from illnesses that will eventually kill them. Too many funerals have been held due to the political shenanigans inside the Beltway.
It is high time that these men and women, whose patriotism and selflessness epitomizes what it means to be American, are taken care of. Every American, who considers himself or herself a patriot, should take up this cause and demand that all else be dropped and this bill be passed. It is the very ideal of the founders to aid those among us in most need; the elderly, the young and the infirmed. It is a conservative ideal, it is an American ideal, it is one of the basic principles of not only the patriotic kind but for all those who proclaim their religious affiliations.
Call your representatives in Washington. Call your Senator. Email the White House. Demand this be addressed, and addressed it now!
You can agree or disagree, but this is bigger than all of us. This is not about what is doing what is conservative or liberal or centrist. This is about what is right, what is correct, what is American. I hope I have gotten you all to think. I hope I have gotten you all to think about these men and women who came to New York from all over the country, think about them as if they were you mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers or grandparents. They helped and need help. They have given their lives to a public service that makes a mockery of any politician who claims they serve the public. They sacrifice. And they deserve our compassion. Our thanks.
But hey, this is just me Thinking Out Loud, right? No, it should be what you all think about until it gets resolved.
Have a great day. And thank a police officer, a fire fighter, a paramedic . . . anyone else who is out there when you need them most.