On April 29, Fox & Friends falsely suggested that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was holding a 9-11 worker health care bill "hostage" in order "to get health care" for "illegal aliens." In fact, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is reportedly seeking to ensure that undocumented immigrants who served as post-9-11 recovery workers -- not undocumented immigrants in general, as Fox suggested -- would also be able to receive the "benefits for health problems they incurred because of their heroic actions" that are provided for other 9-11 responders by the bill.
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Fox & Friends claims 9-11 health care bill being held "hostage to the interests of" "illegal aliens"
Doocy: "Outrageous" that Congressional Hispanic Caucus is "denying health care for 9-11 workers in order to accommodate illegal immigrants." On the April 29 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said: "This story is outrageous. Denying health care for 9-11 workers in order to accommodate illegal immigrants? Peter Johnson Jr. will explain that coming up next."
Johnson calls it "unconscionable" for the Hispanic Caucus to "somehow link the right to get health care of illegal aliens to tens of thousands of people who are affected by this." On the April 29 edition of Fox & Friends, legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. reported on Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-NY) attempt to pass a bill to provide health care for 9-11 responders and workers and accused the Congressional Hispanic Caucus of trying "to hold this hostage to the interests of letting illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, get the same type of care." Johnson said, "For the Hispanic Caucus to somehow link the right to get health care of illegal aliens to tens of thousands of people who are affected by this -- that's unconscionable." Johnson claimed, "If you look at it, the interests are not equal," and that "if they looked at it and looked in their hearts, they'd say that's not what being a congressperson should be." From the April 29 edition of Fox & Friends:
JOHNSON: There is a bill that's pending in Congress that's been proposed by Congressman Carolyn Maloney, who is a congresswoman on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and she wants to provide health care benefits for the next 10 years for responders -- first responders to the 9-11 disaster in New York City. And so now, according to --
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Many of which, I should add, are struggling physically.
JOHNSON: They're struggling physically. They're developing cancers, they're developing gastrointestinal diseases, developing pulmonary diseases, they are wounded warriors in every sense of the word. They are the forgotten first line of defense in America. America's walked away from them to a great degree. And so she's saying let's help these people.
Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a group of 22 or 23 Hispanic-American congresspeople are saying, yeah, that's fine. But we're going to hold this hostage to the interests of letting illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, get the same type of care. So they have a balancing test. We'll give you this if you give the illegal aliens care. No one has really identified who they are or how many there are, but they're saying, well, these interests are equal. And if you look at it, the interests are not equal.
KILMEADE: And if you think about it, too, by the way, Carolyn Maloney in a real challenge, perhaps, for her seat up for election. But let me ask you something. There was a time when no one would touch the 9-11 survivors, their families, and the 9-11 rescuers. What -- why are they so vulnerable?
JOHNSON: Well, the Democratic Party over the last year and a half has had an incredible opportunity by virtue of their control of Congress to help the 9-11 survivors. They have so far refused to do so. And so you see this effort now in America; we have this controversy in Arizona. For the Hispanic Caucus to somehow link the right to get health care of illegal aliens to tens of thousands of people who are affected by this -- that's unconscionable.
JOHNSON: And if they looked at it and looked in their hearts, they'd say that's not what being a congressperson should be.
In fact, Hispanic Caucus reportedly wants to ensure that undocumented immigrants who served as post 9-11 workers aren't denied health benefits in the bill
Wall Street Journal: Bill will provide health care to "tens of thousands of people who suffered health problems after working" at World Trade Center site, including undocumented immigrants. An April 28 Wall Street Journal reported that the "legislation, which is awaiting review by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would provide about $5 billion over 10 years in health care and treatment for tens of thousands of people who suffered health problems after working at the site of the collapsed World Trade Center or living nearby." The legislation currently extends this coverage to undocumented immigrants.
GOP amendment barring undocumented immigrants from obtaining health care under the bill was voted down. The Wall Street Journal further reported that "[i]n March, an Energy and Commerce subcommittee voted down an amendment from Rep. Steve Buyer (R., Ind.) that would have barred the government from paying for health services for illegal immigrants under the measure."
Congressional Hispanic Caucus reportedly threatened to pull support for bill if Republicans succeed in barring undocumented immigrants from coverage. The Wall Street Journal reported that the "Congressional Hispanic Caucus is threatening to block a health-care bill for post-9/11 recovery workers if it bars illegal immigrants from treatment." The article said that Hispanic lawmakers were concerned that "Republicans could try to raise the issue" of barring undocumented immigrants from coverage under this bill "again" and "are warning Democrats to fight off another potential amendment or lose their support." The article quoted Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) as saying, "It would be unconscionable to deny people care and benefits for health problems they incurred because of their heroic actions."