Jon Stewart stood up for his friend Congressman Anthony Weiner in a long Daily Show segment analyzing who killed the 9/11 Workers Bill. If Stewart had been less biased, he could have helped his audience see how Weiner's grandstanding was obstructing getting the bill back to the House for a regular 50%+ vote this time.
Stewart comes down hard on weasely Republican politicans, calling one an "asshole" (cool), but then pretends Democrat Weiner (bigger asshole) was being a good guy for pulling his famous shouting stunt. Stewart failed to explain the clip which was edited in a misleading way. Weiner was not being a good guy. He was covering up what he and the Dems did. He could have passed the bill by normal vote (50%+), but changed the rules so that 66% was needed to win. That's why the bill that won, lost.
If you're a 9/11 Responder trying to understand why Congress voted yes, but the Bill failed, it comes down to the party's choice of abnormal vote. Democrats and Weiner changed the rules before the vote, and all their hacks in the media are staying away, letting Weiner's grandstanding be the party's cover.
Why did they do this? Answer: to avoid a floor debate which they were afraid would damage election results in November.
The Democrats chose to kill the bill with a 66% requirement. Republicans were given the chance to kill the bill by voting no, except for King's renegade republicans, on the basis, largely, that they wanted a debate on all sorts of stuff Democrats did not want to talk about at election time.
But what about the sick workers who were told by the EPA that it was ok to breathe the air at Ground Zero, that they would be fine, only to discover months later, now NINE years later, that they would get painful excruciating lung diseases and die!? Democrats chose the completely unusual 66% rule to avoid debate and kill the bill. Weiner's speech is what you call a grandstand, a diversion.
Weiner is the viral video politican famous for shouting at "the gentleman" on the floor of the US Congress for being a bad guy. Weiner's rant was insulting and directed at a man, Congressman Peter King, who should have been praised for his years of work trying to get this bill passed. Weiner was trying to pervert the story to seem like Peter King, "the gentleman," killed the bill. Weiner's trick is slowly becoming understood.
"The gentleman" Weiner kept screaming-at for killing the bill was in fact the bill's greatest champion.
Normally this would just be politics, but Weiner is playing tricks with 9/11 workers and he's not getting away with it, no matter how much I love Jon Stewart.
The politics-as-usual argument dies on 9/11 matters in New York. Weiner represents too many 9/11 workers in his district to be let fool them. These are NEW YORKERS who went to work on 9/11 and months afterwards, that are now sick, workers that are dying, workers that have been waiting nine years. They don't need their Congressman playing games and causing delays again.
As Stewart explains, the Democrats changed the bill's vote so that it would become muc harder to pass. That meant the 9/11 Workers Bill would go down in a fiery ball of flames, because there was no way they could get that many Congressman to vote for this bill without the usual debate. And it did die.
Weiner did that--Weiner and the Democratic leadership made a calculation that they could trick the public into blaming Republicans for voting no, when it was the Democrats choice not to use their clear majority to simply vote the Bill into law instead.
Stewart--just before "giving up"--kicked Congressman Kevin Brady in the teeth for voting no, and it makes sense to be mad at people like that. At least, however, Brady was honest and said why he did so. Asshole?, yes. Liar?, not about 9/11. Demanding people vote without a debate--as Weiner and Democrats orchestrated--is not fair to thoughtful lawmakers. If Brady is an asshole, Weiner is something deeper up, dirtier, because Brady was upfront about his voting choice.
Stewart's calling Brady an asshole, while implying Weiner a good guy, did his duty by friend and Democrats, but hurts 9/11 Workers who need the truth to get this bill back to vote. Stewart should help, not make that harder.
Weiner denied Republicans a chance to debate, so we can't really know what a normal debate-then-vote would have looked like. Weiner and the Dems chose the harder and stranger 2/3rds route, requiring a lot more votes to pass the bill.
Stewart is a good friend to risk his 9/11 reputation on the fallings from Weiner's blustering hole.
Weiner really can't hide behind Stewart though. He can't hide behind the strawman he tried to make of "the gentleman" either.
Instead of employing a funny man defense, Weiner needs to apologize to King, whom he slandered on the floor of the United States Congress. He then needs to apologize to his constituents whom he tried to trick. After that he needs to fix the bill, and put it to the floor--under a normal vote this time, so that when it wins, it wins, as it would have.
In the meantime, he has very sick constituents, left waiting.
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