Today is the eleventh anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on America and as can be expected, politicians are using this day to show how much they care for patriots and true American heroes. The Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates are no exception to this rule - Paul Ryan has been paying lip service to those who lost their lives and who were on the scene of the heinous acts all day.
For instance, Paul Ryan issued the following statement today:
“Eleven years ago today, from Capitol Hill, I could see the smoke rising from the fires burning in the Pentagon. Like all Americans, I will never forget the moment that our homeland came under attack. For me, this is a day to remember those who perished on that day of terror, including the first responders. It is also a day to pay tribute to all those who have worked quietly and tirelessly both on the home front and abroad to prevent a repetition of such terrible events. And it is a day to give honor to those in our military who have sacrificed so much, including their lives, for the same end. Their courage and heroism and willingness to answer the call of duty have kept America safe and strong and free. We are truly the home of the brave.”That is all fine and dandy but what does Paul Ryan really think of the first responders - those who risked their lives at a time of terrible uncertainty? When Congress was considering legislation that would aid the first responders back in 2010, the bills was voted against none other than Mitt Romney's own Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan voted against the First Responders Bill three times - two "No" votes and one "Against" vote, meaning he was too busy to even vote up or down. Ryan also never issued a statement for September 11th two years ago when he was busy voting against the first responders and his fellow Republicans in Congress called aiding these American heroes fiscally irresponsible, job-killing, and just another entitlement program. Republicans successfully watered down the legislation, reducing the amount of the bill to only a couple billion and preventing first responders with September 11th-related cancer diagnoses from being covered. Just for a point of reference - America is spending roughly $10 billion a day for the wars Paul Ryan voted for. What was Paul Ryan's reasoning for not wanting to help the first responders? Ryan said the following on the floor when he got back from spending Christmas vacation with his healthy family:
Madam Speaker, I was absent for legislative business and missed rollcall vote 663 on December 21, 2010, and rollcall vote 664 on December 22, 2010. Had I been present, I would have voted ``yes'' on H.R. 6547, the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act, and ``no'' on rollcall vote 664 (H.R. 847).So Paul Ryan wanted to thank the first responders by not funding their medical care (while he comfortably collected government-paid health care) all because he didn't like the accounting, which by the way placed the burden of costs on non-American entities. For instance, the Travel Promotion Act places a mere $10 fee on foreign travelers to America that do not require a visa. This would not amount to a tax on the average American and would raise the revenue needed to help fund the health care of those who risked everything for this nation.
The vote I wish to discuss is the bill H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Without a doubt, Republicans and Democrats can agree that both the victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, and the first responders who bravely served following the attacks deserve to be fairly treated and compensated. However, this bill would create a new health care entitlement, the World Trade Center Health Program, while also extending eligibility for compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. As a result, had I been present, I would have voted against passage of the bill.
Since the terrorist attacks occurred nearly nine years ago, I have supported legislation to ensure that these individuals are cared for and receive access to the services they deserve. However, rather than working with Republicans to craft a bill which truly addressed the shortcomings in care provided to those directly impacted by the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Majority instead rushed this bill to the floor in the waning hours of the 111th Congress, refusing to allow an open debate or consider amendments.
The result is a deeply flawed bill. H.R. 847 creates yet another mandatory spending program--increasing spending by $4.2 billion dollars over 10 years--and paying for it by an Excise Tax on Foreign Manufacturers, an extension of Travel Promotion Act fees, and the extension of HI-B visa fees.
There is no doubt that we owe a debt of gratitude to those who came to the rescue of countless individuals following the attacks on September 11, 2001, but these provisions distort that noble goal. At a time when our budget deficit is $1.3 trillion and our national debt stands at $13.8 trillion, we must accurately account for those programs that take priority. I remain hopeful that as the 112th Congress convenes, my colleagues and I can work together to reform some of my concerns with this proposal and truly provide the services these first responders deserve.
It wouldn't be surprising to discover that the Romney campaign only agreed to the negative advertisement black out on September 11th to keep Obama and the Democrats from bringing up the fact that his vice-presidential pick doesn't care about American heroes. This is also probably why Paul Ryan issued a statement but isn't doing anything else on this day - after getting bitch-slapped on CBS for his hypocrisy on his voting record, Ryan probably wanted to avoid any further confrontations with the press, especially since Romney is sinking fast in the polls.
It is funny when you think about the kind of campaign Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are running. Romney and Ryan have claimed ownership of all the president's achievements, from rescuing the auto industry to even killing Osama bin Laden! Ryan also plays schoolyard games with his own records stating that he should not be held accountable for his actions because did it first.
What line of bologna will the Romney/Ryan campaign try to spoon feed Americans tomorrow?