‘MCWEASEL’ BLASTS 9/11 HEALTH BILL…. It’s not enough for Senate Republicans to block a vote on the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Now, members like John McCain (R-Ariz.) are condemning Democratic efforts to even try to pass the bill.

Arizona Sen. John McCain did it again, insulting 9/11’s heroes and belittling the push to pass a health bill as “fooling around.”

The Arizona Republican, dubbed McWeasel for blowing off an ailing Ground Zero construction worker two weeks ago, whipped up new fury last night by suggesting Senate Democrats have wasted time trying to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, among other bills.

At the time, McCain was refusing to accept a time limit for debating the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

“To have a time agreement after all of the fooling around that we’ve been doing on [the] Dream Act, on New York City … we will not have a time agreement from this side,” he insisted angrily.

Let’s unpack this a bit, because I think it’s important.

Democrats, hoping to complete the lame-duck schedule in a reasonable amount of time, sought to limit the length of the already-long debate over New START ratification. McCain, showing the temperament of a spoiled four-year-old, threw a little tantrum and refused to limit the duration, insisting that there’d be more time for him to make ridiculous arguments about arms control if Democrats hadn’t wasted time “fooling around” on frivolous legislation.

But this is more than just petty and spiteful, it’s also truly idiotic. For one thing, Republicans are responsible for the lengthy delays, thanks to pointless obstructionist tactics. For another, providing health care to 9/11 first responders is not some pointless exercise.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) of New York was not amused.

“Mr. President, this is not fooling around,” Mr. Schumer declared standing before a huge photo of two rescue workers amid the chaos at ground zero, one of them apparently injured.

“These men and the thousands of others who rushed to the towers on 9/11 and in the days thereafter were not fooling around,” Mr. Schumer continued. “They, just like my colleague from Arizona, were risking their lives. It was like a time of war. The bottom line is that we were attacked and without asking any questions, the police and firefighters, the construction workers and E.M.T. workers, who rushed to the towers risked their lives in a time of war as well. And to call that helping them fooling around is saddening and frustrating, saddening and frustrating.”

As long as we’re on the subject, Fox News, perhaps shamed by Jon Stewart, finally mentioned the 9/11 health bill yesterday. Shep Smith didn’t emphasize which party was responsible, but he nevertheless was right to describe efforts to defeat the legislation as “disgusting” and “a national disgrace.” (thanks to reader V.S.)

We also learned yesterday why Republicans have been so opposed to the measure — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been quietly lobbying against it because it’s financed by closing tax loopholes for foreign businesses that do business in the United States. The Chamber cares more about protecting the loopholes than caring for 9/11 heroes, so it’s been successfully pressuring Republicans to kill the bill.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.