Update – I wish I didn’t have to write this update, but I do.
As a mystery author, I often include salacious political twists in my storylines, but I am finding that sometimes art doesn’t come close to matching the twisted machinations of what goes on in the back rooms of Washington, D.C.
Back in October 2018, I wrote a post titled: NEVER FORGET THE HEROES. It dealt with the need of Congress to address the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Act (S. 3591 / H.R. 7062), which is scheduled to run out of money in 2020.
If you are like me, you have to wonder why programs such as this are always facing financial peril, yet we never seem to run out of money to fund pressing issues like spending $15 million to study the effectiveness of golf equipment in space or a $43 million gas station in Afghanistan. Hell, I recall reading one report where the Department of Defense purchased, and then left unused, approximately 270,000 commercial airline tickets at a total cost of $100 million. To compound the problem, the bean-counters over at the Pentagon never bothered to get a refund for the fully refundable tickets. Of course they didn’t and why should they? It is a clear case of: OPM – Other People’s Money, namely YOURS.
If Americans spent just one afternoon casually perusing the voluminous articles there are on wasteful congressional (and overall governmental) spending, Washington D.C. would be a charred, barren wasteland by morning. Yet, when it comes to funding a bill that would provide compensation and medical coverage for the victims of the deadliest terror attack in United States history, the congress seems to have a really hard time trying to find the money. But how much money are we talking about?
Well, the last re-authorization of the bill, in 2015, allocated just under $5 billion to fund it till 2020. Now, this might sound like a lot of money, and it is, except for when you consider some other interesting spending facts. In 2016, the last full fiscal year analyzed, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) determined that the United States provided roughly $49 billion in foreign aid. So in just one year we provided nearly 10x the funding to foreign nations than we allocated to caring for our sick and dying first responders. Yet even this staggering amount of $49 billion in foreign aid still only accounted for about 1.2 percent of the total annual federal budget.
If you think this is bad, consider the following.
Afghanistan, the country from where 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden orchestrated the terror attacks has received the following funding since 2001:
2001 - $92 million
2002 – $508 million
2003 – $984 million
2004 – $1.9 billion
2005 – $1.7 billion
2006 – $3.4 billion
2007 – $4.9 billion
2008 – $8.3 billion
2009 – $8.6 billion
2010 – $7.8 billion
2011 – $11 billion
2012 – $10 billion
2013 – $10 billion
2014 – $7.1 billion
2015 – $9.1 billion
2016 – $4.2 billion
2017 – $4.9 billion
(Source: USAID https://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/AFG disbursements)
For those mathematically inclined, that is nearly $100 billion in funding to the very same country from which the attack was planned. Now you can see why many of the victims feel as if we are being left alone to die. Victims have to beg for funding while money is being thrown hand over fist at our attacker. Hell, we even have to BEG for support from our own elected representatives; which brings me right back to my original post.
In October 2018, I reached out to my congressional representative, Rodney Davis (R-IL), through his official government website and asked him to co-sponsor H.R. 7062. It seemed like a no-brainer to me, since he actually represents a first responder who was directly impacted by the attack. I contacted him and I waited…… and I waited. In the three months since, my wife has contacted his office twice and received correspondence from his office.
Me? Not so much.
I guess an NYPD 9/11 survivor with cancer doesn’t merit a stamp.
Perhaps I am better off. The form-letter version I received from him, the last time around, pretty much made my blood boil.
Rodney has spoken out in the past about the attack, but, just like other politicians, he only seems to #NeverForget when the cameras are rolling. Unfortunately, I #REMEMBER every single day. Something else I will remember is Election Day 2020 and I will do my utmost, to remind everyone I know in the 13th Congressional District, to send a message to Rep. Davis. In fact, I still have a few local reporters on my speed-dial and I am sure they would love to do a timely piece.
To find out if your elected representatives have supported 9/11 victims, please visit the following link:
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