Who votes against help for 9/11 recovery workers?

WHO VOTES AGAINST HELP FOR 9/11 RECOVERY WORKERS?…. It’s a little late in the game to introduce a game-changing issue into the Senate special election in Massachusetts — the election is Tuesday, after all — but this revelation nevertheless tells voters something pretty important about Republican Scott Brown.

One month after the September 11th attacks, Scott Brown was one of only three Massachusetts State Representatives to vote against a bill to provide financial assistance to Red Cross workers who had volunteered with 9/11 recovery efforts, we’ve learned.

The Brown campaign acknowledged the vote to us, claiming the measure would have taxed already-strained state finances. […]

On October 17th, 2001, Brown voted against a bill that would authorize “leaves of absence for certain Red Cross employees participating in Red Cross emergencies.” The bill gave 15 days of paid leave each year to state workers called up by the Red Cross to respond to disasters. At the time, state workers called for such emergencies were required to use sick and vacation days.

This suggests an almost-stunning callousness. It’s all the more galling that Brown knew it was going to pass — 148 to 3 — but opposed it anyway, just to make a point.

I shudder to think what Republicans would say about a Democratic lawmaker who cast a vote like this just a month after the 9/11 attacks

The Brown campaign has said the vote was about fiscal responsibility — Massachusetts couldn’t afford assistance for Red Cross workers who had volunteered with 9/11 recovery efforts.

That’s not a bad line, I suppose, but here’s my follow-up question: why, then, does Scott Brown recommend tax cuts now that the nation can’t afford? Why would tax cuts for the wealthy be more important than help for 9/11 recovery volunteers?

DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz told Greg Sargent, “On a day with Scott Brown bringing in Rudy Giuliani, he ought to give the people of Massachusetts an explanation as to why he voted against relief for 9/11 workers. We knew Scott Brown was a shill for Wall Street and corporate interests, but I cannot imagine what excuse he comes up with for this vote. He ought to be ashamed of himself and he ought to apologize to the Mayor of New York.”

It also reinforces the fact that Brown, a favorite of the Tea Party crowd, isn’t even close to being a moderate. He’s pretty far to the right on everything from torture to taxes, health care to the economy, Wall Street accountability to global warming.

But this 9/11 vote may lead on-the-fence voters to wonder whether Brown represents “a new day,” or the worst of yesterday.

Update: On a related note, if the media is making a big deal about a DSCC ad that inadvertently showed the World Trade Center (the ad was pulled), Brown’s vote on 9/11 recovery volunteers is at least as important, if not more so.