Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani scolded congressional Republicans, urging them to swiftly pass legislation providing health benefits to first responders on 9/11.
Giuliani, the mayor of New York on Sept. 11, 2001, when planes crashed into and destroyed the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan, said it was Congress's "obligation" to provide assistance to workers who helped in recovery efforts following the attacks.
"This should not be seen as a Democratic or Republican issue. It shouldn't even been seen as a fiscal issue. It's a matter of morality, of obligation," Giuliani said on New York's Fox affiliate on Tuesday morning.
Giuliani became an icon, especially among Republicans, for having served as mayor of New York during the 9/11 attacks. He ran for president in 2008, though his candidacy fizzled out in the Republican primary.
The former mayor said he's been reaching out to Republican senators — including one unnamed senator, at the behest of current Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) — with mixed success.
"I have for a couple weeks," Giuliani said of his efforts. "I tried to see if it can get done before they got to the tax bill. I thought the strategy of holding things up was a good one, but I don't think this is one of the things you should be holding up. Now that that's been passed, this should just happen.
"There are a couple of my friends, who I supported very strongly, who somehow can't find time to return my call," a bemused Giuliani later added.
Giuliani also suggested that former President George W. Bush would be a useful voice in helping drag the 9/11 first-responders bill across the finish line. Lawmakers are hoping for approval in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.
"In a way, I wish President Bush were around, because I think he could explain this to some of the Republicans who are being recalcitrant better than anyone else, because he lived through this," Giuliani said.