Shocking: Even when it comes to sick 9/11 first responders, politicians speak out of both sides of their mouths
For the past 14 years, on the anniversary of the worst tragedy to strike our country, legislative leaders, like clockwork, have taken full advantage of the opportunity to get before news cameras and microphones to espouse their enduring support for the brave men and women who were killed and injured on 9/11. You can look it up! Take a moment to google your local representative’s comments on every September 11th. Whenever the cameras are rolling, they are sure to express their deep admiration for, and wrap their arms around the sick first responders who developed serious illnesses as a result of their exposure to the WTC toxic dust. They express the nation’s gratitude and pledge their support to the families who lost loved ones both during and since the attacks.
Unfortunately, for many politicians, their subsequent deeds don’t seem to match their prior words.
Most recently, House Speaker John Boehner’s recent visit to Ground Zero appears to have been nothing more than a photo op. In New York for a fundraising event, Boehner visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Ground Zero on April 26. The purpose of his visit to the memorial was “to pay tribute to our fallen heroes”, he said.
“Your heart breaks for the families,” he said in an online post last week on the visit.
But Boehner did not mention the growing number of volunteers, cops and firefighters with health issues resulting working at the site after the attack.
The Speaker remains publicly opposed to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which helps first responders get healthcare and compensation. Due to a compromise to ease passage in 2011, the act will start to expire this year if Congress does not extend it. Since he opposed the opening of the Victim Compensation Fund in 2010, no one is counting on his support for the reauthorization of the Zadroga Act. His refusal to do so, notwithstanding his flowery speeches, has riled 9/11 first responders who would like the Ohio Republican’s help hanging on to expiring health benefits and lost income.