Friday, July 30, 2010
House Defeats Health Care for 9/11 Rescue Workers
Congressional shenanigans have buried a U.S. House measure called the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in health care for 9/11 rescue workers suffering from the effects of working in the toxic environment at Ground Zero. Zadroga was a NYC Detective that likely died as a result of the effects from working at Ground Zero in 2006.
Apparently, the disagreement and the reason why the bill didn't pass has its roots in partisan politics. Democrats sealed the process to Republican amendments to the bill, they say, in order to prevent Republicans from adding on political items. We can debate that all night long, but the fact is that 94 percent of Democrats and only seven percent of Republicans voted in favor of the bill that required a supermajority or 276 of the votes cast to pass.
Incidentally, the line broke straight down party lines in the Indiana delegation. Republicans Steve Buyer, Dan Burton, and Mike Pence voted against the bill. Democrats Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth, Pete Visclosky, Andre Carson, and Joe Donnelly voted for the bill.
Each Congressman and Congresswoman that voted against the bill, regardless of party, should remember this moment following 9/11 when President George W. Bush grabbed a bullhorn and said what needed to be said. When the President put his arm symbolically and personally around the neck of that firefighter, America was saying that we were with those rescue workers in that important work.
That vote last night did the opposite. It said, we care more about procedure than we do about you. It's sickening. To every Republican that voted against this measure and the four Democrats that did, too. They should watch this video.
No Congressman has spoken out as forcefully as Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has in the last two days. Last night, he was visibly angry when he found out the Republicans were going to try to game the system. His speech, which exhibited great frustration at the state of the debate over the bill, drew applause from the chamber.
Then, this morning, as Rep. Peter King (R-NY) tried to pin things on Democrats, Weiner put it right back in the Republicans' hands.
Let's pass this bill. Let's pass it now.