Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee appeared on "The Daily Show" Thursday and discussed the Senate's stalling of a bill that would provide additional funding to bolster health care coverage of 9/11 first responders. Huckabee agreed that the legislation, known as the Zadroga bill, should be supported by Republicans, who have blocked the bill over concerns of how it would be paid for.
"Every Republican should vote for this bill," Huckabee announced, after Stewart explained that the bill was a standalone measure not attached to any other spending.
"I wish that the Republicans would say, 'we'll fight the battle,'" Huckabee said. "If it needs two [GOP senators to pass], there ought to be 25, 35, 45 Republicans voting for it."
The Zadroga bill, which is structured to provide $7.4 billion in order to "improve health services and provide financial compensation for 9/11 first responders who were exposed to dangerous toxins and are now sick as a result," received a vital new backer in Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) Thursday. The moderate Maine senator said that the legislation would probably be passed if they could find a way to additionally offset some of its costs.
Huckabee also gave a de facto defense of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's idea that the legislative calendar could be extended through Christmas and up until the next congress, an idea that he'd been religiously rebuked for by Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
"It does not bother me if the Senate and the House were to work a little extra," Huckabee said. "It'd make up for all the times they're not working, which is the rest of the year."