Politicians Swear to “Never Forget” 9/11 Victims … Then Slash Healthcare for Heroic First Responders
First Responders – Like Veterans – Are Hypocritically Used and Abused to Promote the War Agenda of the Super Elite
Politicians constantly urge us to never forget the victims of 9/11.
Yet the EPA lied to the heroic first responders and told them that the dust at Ground Zero was safe, when it was actually laced with a witches brew of cancer-causing chemicals which are now crippling or killing them off.
And now Congress is slashing medical care to the first responders. As Michael McAuliff notes:
Lawmakers [turned their backs on the first responders] in the budget sequester legislation Congress passed last summer to try and cut the deficit.
The sequester set up automatic budget cuts of some $1.2 trillion over 10 years, and legislators were careful to spare veterans from most of those, recognizing their sacrifices in the war on terror. But apparently no one remembered to also exempt 9/11 responders and others who first answered the call after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that started that war.
And now the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that President Barack Obama signed on Jan. 2, 2011, faces $38-million worth of cuts in 2013 alone if the sequester is not avoided, and could lose something approaching $300 million over the current planned life of the program.
The news is not going over well with advocates in the 9/11 community, who had thought that the 9/11 programs were safe because they were passed as mandatory spending programs outside of the annual discretionary budget process.
“This is unacceptable,” said John Feal, a construction worker who founded the FealGood Foundation advocacy group after losing half his foot at Ground Zero in the cleanup.
“This is just another slap in the face from Washington, D.C.,” Feal said. “Last week, Republicans and Democrats talked about remembering 9/11 and unity all across the nation, and all that patriotic stuff, and now we’re getting this thrown on our lap.”
Feal found the news especially insulting because in order to get Republicans to sign on, sponsors of the Zadroga Act had to find a dedicated funding stream, and they did. The measure is paid for by leveling a 2 percent tax on foreign companies that get U.S. federal contracts when their home governments bar U.S. firms from government contracts there.
That revenue stream is not being reduced, meaning that money raised specifically to aid the ailing heroes and victims of 9/11 would instead be used to pay the government’s bills. Adding insult to injury, the 9/11 law was already structured to cut the deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate, the measure slashes $433 million from the deficit.
The potential cuts would come as the likely demand for 9/11 services is expected to grow, now that federal officials have decided cancer should be covered in the programs.
“We just got cancer added, and we don’t even know if we have enough money for cancer, and they want to take money away from us,” Feal said.
“I thought this was an ill-conceived concept from the start which is one of the reasons why I voted against the [sequester],” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D). “Nothing exemplifies this unbalanced and draconian approach to deficit reduction more than asking our heroes who have already sacrificed so much to sacrifice yet again so that Republican leadership could appease their special interests. Our 9/11 heroes who answered the call of duty should be treated with the same dignity as our veterans.
In fact, veterans have been treated like dirt by a government which has used them, abused them and discarded them (or worse – see this, this, this, this and this) after they serve the interests of the super-elite.
War is a racket … and so is the shameless exploitation of 9/11 for political purposes, while abusing the heroic first responders who risked their lives for their country.