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Mike Lee responds to criticism after holding up passage of 9-11 first responder funding

Jul 18, 2019, 9:14 AM
FILE: Utah Sen. Mike Lee has proposed his own short-term spending plan that would be extended out until the new Republican-controlled House takes control. Lee says the new House would be able to replace his plan. Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

Comedian and activist Jon Stewart was joined by 9/11 first responder John Feal in criticizing Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) for delaying a vote on the 9/11 victims compensation fund Wednesday through a procedural maneuver.

John Feal said he thinks that the senators lack humanity.

“We’re not surprised by Senator Lee and Paul. This is their MO,” Feal Fox News’ Bret Baier yesterday.

Stewart also talked about a meeting he had been in with Sen. Lee five years ago.

“He looked us in the eye, he looked Ray Pfeifer in the eye, who is unfortunately no longer with us, and said he was going to look into it.

“He is the reason we had to go back again,” Stewart said.

Boyd Matheson, the host of KSL Newsradio’s Inside Sources, was also in that meeting to talk about what needed to be done for those first responders.

“This was one of the early meetings, and obviously it was very passionate.

“Everybody agrees we’ve got to take care of our first responders. How we do that was really the question,” Matheson said.

The Victims Compensation Fund was originally available for about 2 years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and was created for those who were at the scene of the attack.

It was reopened in 2011 and extended benefits to those who suffered injury or illness in the cleanup and rescue efforts as well as those that lived, worked or were near the area during and after the attacks.

“I think it’s very important for people to recognize that there is money still going out to first responders every day,” Boyd said.

“The two things that people need to remember is compassion and accountability are compatible principles in the United States of America. And that’s an important thing,” he continued.

Matheson continued saying that the procedural steps taken by Sens. Lee and Paul are there to ensure that the government will be held accountable.

That accountability is what Senator Lee said needed to be in the bill, and was his reasoning for delaying the vote.

“Last night Jon Stewart said he believed a billion dollars a year for ten years was a reasonable request for 9/11 first responders. I agree. That is why I filed an amendment last night funding the program at $10.18 billion over ten years, the exact same amount the Congressional Budget Office estimated the program will need,” Sen. Lee said in a release Wednesday.

“I do not want to stop the bill’s consideration and believe we can and should address the health needs of those first responders of the ‪9/11 attack,” Sen. Lee continued.

“I simply want to ensure that Congress has some continued oversight to ensure the Fund continues to follow the law as intended. We have seen too many times government programs divert from their intended use when Congress abdicates its oversight role.”

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Mike Lee responds to criticism after holding up passage of 9-11 first responder funding