|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader from Kentucky, refuses to take a public position on the $7.4 billion James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, but sources say that in private discussions he has not supported it.
When he was running for reelection two years ago, McConnell touted his support for a law that compensated "patriots" who worked to build America's nuclear arsenal during the Cold War.
McConnell said as much in an ad that sounds remarkably like the case for helping Americans who came from all over the country to toil in the toxins of Ground Zero - and got sick after officials said it was safe.
"During the Cold War, America's security depended on nuclear strength. Workers at Paducah's gaseous diffusion plant are patriots who did some of the most dangerous work," the ad says.
"We always knew the job was dangerous," says nuke worker David Fuller in the ad. "What we found out along the way was that it was more dangerous than what we were made aware of."
McConnell's spot crows that he won both a cancer screening program and compensation for people who were ignored and dying because of their service - much like 9/11's neglected responders.
"Really all we're asking for is the same thing that was done for nuclear workers," said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.). "I would hope that Mitch McConnell realizes that 9/11 workers were just as victimized as the nuclear workers were, and they all should be protected by the federal government."
Advocates for 9/11 responders argued that McConnell's constituents would be all for him backing the Zadroga bill.
"Kentucky people are some of the most patriotic people in the country," Feal said. "They would be embarrassed if they knew Mitch McConnell was not supporting 9/11's patriots."
The Zadroga bill needs two Republican senators to sign on in order to pass. Insiders believe one is ready to join, but if McConnell said yes, many more likely would follow.
SCHIEFFER: You have argued that one of the main purposes -- and other Republicans say the same thing -- is to reduce the deficit.
SCHIEFFER: But I have to ask you, Senator McConnell, when you're talking about extending those tax cuts for upper-income Americans, the estimates are that will cost $700 billion over the next 10 years. I mean, if you take all the tax cuts together, you're talking about $4 trillion. How do you intend to pay for those tax cuts?
MCCONNELL: Bob, it only costs $700 billion if you consider it the government's money. This is our money. This has been the tax rate for almost a decade -- almost a decade.
The federal government doesn't have this problem because it taxes too little. It's got it because it spends too much. We don't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. So the whole nomenclature surrounding this that somehow we're doing people a favor by giving them their own money back, I just don't accept. The government is too big. It needs to be shrunk.
We can do that by targeting the annual discretionary spending, which we, by the way, have already begun to do in this Congress. We're going to be able to do more of it in the next Congress. And then I'm hoping that the president's deficit reduction commission, which is supposed to report on December 1st, is going to have some recommendations with regard to our long-term debt problems, which are quite severe, that people like me and my Republican colleagues can support.