Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended himself and the process by which money is approved for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund after entertainer-comedian Jon Stewart branded him “the White Whale” of “getting 9/11 bills passed.”
Stewart had been prompted by Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” to take a clear shot at McConnell when he asked about his Senate testimony on behalf of 9/11 first responders: “You said that a certain someone, by which it appeared you meant Senate leader Mitch McConnell, cannot be allowed to use this as a ‘political football’ in negotiations on other spending bills. Have you had problems with Senator McConnell?”
“In terms of getting the 9/11 bills passed, Mitch McConnell has been the white whale of this since 2010,” Stewart replied.
“In 2010 — and this brings up something because I think it’s the cynicism that’s displayed by Washington that also causes this situation to be so emotional. They asked Mitch McConnell about the testimony, after it was done and he said, ‘gosh’ — I think he used the word gosh. ‘Gosh, we haven’t looked at that in a while, but we will look at it and I’m sure we will deal with it as compassionately as we have in the past.’ But I want to make it clear that this has never been dealt with compassionately by Senator McConnell. He has always held out until the very last minute and only then under intense lobbying and public shaming has he even deigned to move on it.”
“This is not a Republican-Democrat issue,” Stewart continued. “There are Republicans on the bill. We would obviously like to have more of them, but Senator McConnell has seen fit — in 2010 he used it to make sure the Bush tax cuts would be permanent. In 2015, he took it out of the transportation bill because he wanted to extract some promises on oil imports. In this bill right now, 2019, he’s been aware of this — we were told in August that this fund was running out of money and that people were going to have their awards slashed by 30, 50, by up to 70 percent.”
Appearing on Fox & Friends this morning, Senate Majority Leader McConnell was given an opportunity for rebuttal, when host Steve Doocy asked about why it “always seems that the vote comes at the last minute.”
“Well, many things in Congress come at the last minute,” the six-term senator replied. “We’ve never failed to address this issue. And we will address it again. I don’t know why he is all bent out of shape but we will take care of the 9/11 victims compensation fund.”
“I think he was shocked when he was appearing before that committee,” Doocy offered, “I believe it was in the House, so few members showed up that day.”
“Well that frequently happens because members have a lot of things going on at the same time,” McConnell explained.
“It sounds to me like he is looking for some way to take offense. There is no way we won’t address this problem appropriately. We have in the past and we will again in the future.”
In closing, he assured the show’s three co-hosts that the 9/11 compensation fund would be fully financed.
Watch a portion of McConnell’s interview on Fox & Friends …
Video by Fox News
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