Fox & Friends on 9/11 health care bill: A whitewash of GOP obstructionism set to music
Blog ››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN
As regular Fox & Friends viewers know, it's sometimes hard to separate the hosts' truly outrageous segments out from the non-stop barrage of falsehoods, GOP talking points, and cheap shots at Democrats. Today, however, was not one of those days, as Fox & Friends contributor and frequent guest host Peter Johnson Jr. set a new low in faux sanctimonious outrage, and in carrying water for the GOP. That's because today, Johnson gave an entire monologue attacking the U.S. Senate for not acting on the 9/11 health care bill in which he completely whitewashed the shameful GOP obstructionism that led to its failure. Instead, he lectured both sides of the Senate for failing to pass the bill, and punctuated his speech with music:
Yes, in perhaps the first ever example of conservative spin beat poetry, Johnson declared "shame" on the Senate for turning its back on the first responders and decried that senators will excuse themselves for doing this "injustice [which] makes words hard to come by."
Now, except for the choice of smooth jazz, I completely agree with Johnson here. It is a shame that members of the Senate unjustly decided to play political games with the health of our first responders. The problem -- and the real travesty of Johnson's remarks -- is that he attempted to cover up the real culprits responsible for this travesty with his "a pox on both their houses" rhetoric.
See, what was missing from Johnson's ode was what actually happened. The House passed the bill, known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, in September with strong bipartisan support. Then something really ugly happened. Senate Republicans decided to refuse a vote on any legislation that didn't deal with millionaires getting a tax cut, and filibustered the bill. That's right, every single Republican in the Senate voted against moving the debate to the floor, and as a result, the Senate was three votes shy of sending it to the floor for a final vote.
As Media Matters' Eric Boehlert noted, Fox wasn't the only network to ignore this aspect of the story, but as usual, they chose to be the most disingenuous in doing so.
And contrary to Johnson's suggestion that no one in the Senate cared about the bill's demise, several senators, like Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), argued that there was a moral obligation to assist the first responders. But those arguments did not dissuade Republicans that the need for tax cuts for the rich was more important than the health of the heros of 9-11.
Also, where was Johnson before, when Congressman Anthony Weiner assailed congressional Republicans for holding up this bill in the past? Oh, right, here he is actually mocking Congressman Weiner's anger and frustration at House Republicans' objections to the bill back in August:
You'd think that the fact that the bill was blocked because Republicans cared only about tax cuts for the wealthy would have been an important fact to include, but Johnson and the rest of Fox & Friends were too busy cheering for a break on their taxes to notice.