Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now scheduled to meet with the first 9/11 first responders after comedian Jon Stewart shredded him for using the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund as “political football.”
A 9/11 responder named John Feal confirmed to CBS that McConnell had scheduled a meeting with him and other first responders for Tuesday.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) responded to McConnell’s planned meeting by saying that the first responders “have waited long enough.”
“By the end of Senator Mitch McConnell’s meeting with these first responders tomorrow, he should commit to put the bill on the floor for a stand-alone vote immediately following House passage,” Schumer said in an official statement. “We cannot tolerate any more delay.”
Congress’ neglect of the VCF has come under major scrutiny lately after Stewart gave an emotional House testimony almost two weeks ago blasting legislators for abandoning the first responders who still suffer health defects as a result of the attacks.
McConnell shrugged off Stewart’s criticism, saying “I don’t know why he’s all bent out of shape, but we will take care of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.” The GOP leader also defended the many absent lawmakers who failed to appear at the VCF hearing in the first place.
“Well, that frequently happens because members have a lot of things going on at the same time,” McConnell said.
Stewart responded by pleading for McConnell to meet with the first responders.
“If you want to know why the 9/11 community is bent out of shape over these past, let’s call it 18 years, meet with them, tomorrow, as soon as possible and don’t make them beg for it,” the comedian said last week. “You could pass this thing as a standalone bill tomorrow.”