In September, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Pentagon 9/11 memorial, attending the ceremony to "pay a debt of honor and remembrance”; but for all the words he spoke on the 17th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attack, Pence was one of numerous Republicans unwilling to extend assistance to the first responders who suffered physical ailments from their efforts on that fateful day.
In 2016, NJ Advance Media reported on the discrepancy:
Six years ago, though, when Congress was asked to help those firefighters and other first responders, both [House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)] and [House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)], then members of the Republican minority, voted no. So did Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), now the GOP vice-presidential nominee. In the Senate, McConnell voted to block action on the bill.
They were among the 157 Republicans who voted against the Zadroga Act to provide health care and compensation to police officers, firefighters and other first responders who were injured at the 9/11 attack sites such as the World Trade Center.
The bill was named for New York City police officer James Zadroga, who died due to respiratory disease brought about by his presence at Ground Zero, breathing in the dust after the World Trade Center towers fell.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who counted Zadroga as a constituent, said lawmakers should be supporting first responders all the time, not just on special occasions.
"Don't be hypocritical about it, pat them on the back and screw them later on," Pascrell said.