I hate it when my Facebook friends depend on The Daily Show for their news. It makes them look incredibly uninformed.
Today, a friend of mine posted a Daily Show video in which Jon Stewart attacks the GOP’s filibuster of the 9/11 First Responders Bill. Thanks to Stewart, said friend now believes that we conservatives are just plain mean and want to take away “much needed health benefits” from our 9/11 heroes.
There’s just one problem: Stewart, naturally, is not telling his audience the whole story.
Here is the GOP side of the issue as explained by Sen. Mike Enzi in the New York Daily News:
One of the most significant concerns about this bill is its continued reliance on the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to administer 9/11 health programs. NIOSH has sent $475 million in grants to New York to pay for health care benefits. Yet to this day, NIOSH, the city of New York and the various health care providers who received grants have failed to tell Congress where that money has gone. For example, Mount Sinai Medical Center has received about $137 million from NIOSH since 2004. Until they can show where that money was spent, it is irresponsible to give them more.
The proponents of this bill say it terminates the current programs and replaces them with one program run by a single administrator. In reality, the new program administrator would still be NIOSH, the same agency that has inadequately administered the program. Without the basic facts about the programs NIOSH administered for the past eight years, it is hard to design an effective program for the future.
The American people need to know that money is being used effectively because frankly, the nation can’t afford careless spending, no matter how well-intentioned. Our country is in the midst of trying to head off a short-term economic crisis and long-term deficit crisis that could deeply hurt us all. We need money to help 9/11 responders. We need money to help the men and women who are returning from the front lines of two wars. Victims of natural disasters, the poor and unemployed all warrant our attention. We owe it to all of them to use what money we have in the best way we can. In order to do that, legislators must take the time to consider, amend and vote on bills in the committees of jurisdiction.
I realize that my opposition to this bill, and how it is being considered, is not a popular position in New York. I understand and appreciate the frustration of the 9/11 responders, who want to see a permanent program put in place to address their needs. But it is reasonable for senators to ask questions, get answers and amend legislation before it’s rushed to the Senate floor during the final moments of a Congress.
Jon Stewart is a liberal comedian, not a serious pundit. If he opens his mouth, you can rest assured that he’s lying.