9/11 First Responders to Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham: ‘We’re done taking your crap’

A pair of representatives from a group of 9/11 first responders had harsh words for the federal government as they campaigned to renew their healthcare benefits. They told Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham on Wednesday, June 12th, that they weren’t going to “take their crap.”

Brian McGuire and John Feal both worked as first responders during the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. After a congressional hearing where they pleaded with lawmakers to reauthorize the compensation fund, they were interviewed by New Day host John Berman on CNN.

This hearing drew national attention. Former host of The Daily Show Jon Stewart harshly criticized lawmakers at the hearing, as most of the Congress failed to show up. Nearly every year over the past 20 years since 9/11, first responders have had to come to Washington to fight for their health care, as the fund must be renewed by Congress annually.

“Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak—to no one. Shameful, it’s an embarrassment to this country and it is a stain on this institution,” Jon Stewart said to Congress. “You should be ashamed of yourselves for those who aren’t here, but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”

Republican leadership opposed extending health care to 9/11 first responders in both 2010 and 2015.

During his New Day interview Feal told Berman, “Mitch McConnell, we’re on our way. Lindsey Graham, we’re on our way.”

Mcguire also said that he and the other first responders in Washington were “fighting for those who can’t be here, to voice their own help in their cause because they are too sick and they are dying.”

At present, the fund is running low on resources due to the number of claims. In 2015, about $7.4 billion was allocated to be dispersed over the following 5-year period. As of February 2019, more than $5 billion of that fund has already been used.

Amidst accusations of not taking the health and lives of sick and injured 9/11 responders seriously, McConnell had this to say when asked if he would support reauthorizing the fund by a reporter at a press conference:

“Gosh, I hadn’t looked at that lately. I’ll have to. We’ve always dealt with that in the past in a compassionate way, and I assume we will again.”

Watch the video below:

Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Isadora Teich

Isadora Teich is a freelance writer and digital nomad who has worked in web marketing, digital branding, entertainment, and news. When not writing or traveling she is probably doing yoga, learning Spanish, or experimenting in the kitchen.