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Tipsheet

9/11 First Responder: We're Prepared for a 'Street Fight' With McConnell

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

We may have a temporary truce between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and comedian Jon Stewart. Stewart was rightfully furious when only a handful of lawmakers showed up to a hearing on the Victim Compensation Fund for September 11 first responders earlier this month. The fund expires next year, hence Stewart's urgency. He commended the first responders for showing up despite their ailments, but railed off on the "empty Congress" who apparently couldn't find time in their schedule to meet with the 9/11 heroes.

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"Sick and dying, they came down here to and speak," Stewart said during his testimony. "And no one? Shameful. It's an embarrassment to the country, and it is a stain on this institution."

Post-hearing, Stewart pointed fingers at McConnell in particular and accused him of only using the 9/11 emergency personnel as "political pawns."

The Senate leader told Stewart to calm down because he doesn't plan to abandon the first responders.

"I don't know how many times I can say, we've never left the 9/11 victims behind and we won't again," he said.

McConnell is taking the first step by meeting with representatives from the FealGood Foundation, a group that advocates on behalf of first responders, this week.

“Listen, we come in peace," founder John Feal said. "But we also — we’re prepared for anything, whether it’s a street fight or Mitch McConnell saying yes."

Feal added that President Trump could offer a shortcut that would be a much easier fix.

“The president can just come out today with a tweet and tell every Republican senator to get on board — because they all fear him,” he said. “The president wraps his arms around law enforcement, military, firefighters. Here’s the perfect chance for him to do that while he’s getting ready for a re-election bid.”

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Trump, a New Yorker, has often spoken of the city's tenacity in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. He has been "very impressed" by Stewart's impassioned campaign. 

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