Gillibrand Dares GOP to Say No Again to 9/11 Heroes
December 19, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—One of the most despicable actions of the Senate Republicans during the current legislative session is telling our 9/11 first responders to go to hell. Nine-years after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, thousands of firefighters, policeman, construction workers and others have fallen ill from breathing in the toxic fumes and dust at Ground Zero. Many others have lost their battles with cancer and heart and lung problems. The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act passed by the House, would provide $7.4 billion to take care of the health needs of our 9/11 heroes, but every single member of the Republican caucus in the Senate filibustered the bill. It’s a disgrace. But Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is vowing to revive the bill with a new funding plan to gain GOP votes, before the lame-duck session runs out.
Before the health bill was finally passed in the House Republican lawmakers attacked it as a “slush fund” for greedy 9/11 scammers. Republican Senators balked at funding the health bill by closing a tax loophole given to foreign corporations operating in the US. Why? Because the US Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing organization that lobbies for the interests of multinational corporations opposed ending the tax loophole. And the Republicans did their bidding, by blocking a bill to help our sick and dying 9/11 heroes.
But Democrats led by Gillibrand have worked out another plan to fund the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act with additional federal fees.
The New York Times writes:
“We have the votes we need,” Ms. Gillibrand said. “We have indications from several Republicans that they very much want to vote for this bill.”
“The $7.4 billion measure is intended to provide medical care to workers and others who had become ill as a result of being exposed to toxic debris and fumes at the site of the World Trade Center attack in 2001.”
“Republicans have raised concerns about how to pay for the program, and Ms. Gillibrand said the bill’s authors have identified ways to cover the costs through new federal fees that are acceptable to enough Republicans to advance the measure. It stalled on a party line vote of 57 to 42 when 60 votes were required.”
If all goes as planned, the 9/11 health bill will be brought to the floor for another vote after the debate and vote on the START treaty is completed. But time is quickly running out on the lame-duck session, as well as for our sick and dying 9/11 first responders.