From the New York DAILY NEWS:
Most Republicans refused to back the measure, calling it a “slush fund,” and saying it was another example of Democratic overreach and an “insatiable” appetite for taxpayers’ money.
The bill would spend $3.2 billion on health care over the next 10 years for people sickened from their exposure to the toxic smoke and debris of the shattered World Trade Center.
“This legislation as written creates a huge $8.4 billion slush fund paid by taxpayers that is open to abuse, fraud and waste,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), arguing that it would be raided by undeserving scammers with tenuous links to 9/11.
“This fund is bloated,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
Texas Republican Joe Barton, leading debate for his side, said the GOP would back a smaller program, such as the $150 million a year the White House would like to spend. But he said the rest of the country should not bear the brunt of helping New Yorkers cope with the aftermath of the terror attacks.
“We support it, without raising taxes on the rest of the American people,” said Barton (R-Texas), who recently won infamy by apologizing to BP.
The measure is paid for by closing tax loopholes on foreign subsidiaries that do business in the United States, which the GOP also opposed, saying it was a tax hike on foreign companies that hire Americans.
Democrats would have been able to pass the bill if they used the normal procedure, but they brought it up as a “suspension bill,” which needs a two-thirds vote to pass because it can’t be amended. Democrats feared the GOP would attach poison pills to the bill.
The procedural move infuriated the few Republicans who voted yes, with Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) calling it “a cruel hoax and a charade,” suggesting Democrats want to use the failure to hammer the GOP in November. “This bill should be more important than a campaign talking point,” he fumed.
Mayor Bloomberg slammed the failure, calling it “outrageous,” and blaming both sides.
Democrats savaged the other side, saying they were turning their backs on heroes to protect foreign tax cheats, and said it really shouldn’t matter how the country pays to take care of people who answered the call from all over the nation, and are sick now.
“Many of these people are losing their lives,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “They certainly have lost their health. And we owe them.”
Democrats vowed they would try again, after Congress’ summer vacation.
Congressman Anthony Weiner had an answer to Peter King when he bitched and moaned about the procedural vote:
What’s this all about? From DNAinfo:
LOWER MANHATTAN — Charles Giles was not in Washington Thursday night to watch the House of Representatives defeat the 9/11 health bill.
Giles, 42, an EMT who rushed into the North Tower shortly before it collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, was stuck at home in New Jersey, where his failing lungs and heart keep him confined to bed.
“If I don’t get my medical care, I’m going to die,” Giles said in a phone interview Friday morning. “What happened last night is a total disgrace. Our government is totally broken.”
The $7.4 billion Zadroga Act, named for fallen NYPD Detective James Zadroga who died from a 9/11-induced lung ailment, would reopen the victims’ compensation fund and provide medical monitoring and treatment for the first responders, residents, workers and students who were hurt or became ill in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
The House is expected to vote on the bill again this fall under different rules, when a simple majority would pass it.
But that may not come soon enough for first responders like Giles, who said he has been diagnosed with a variety of illnesses and takes 39 medications a day.
“We gave our hearts and souls on 9/11,” Giles said. “Congress doesn’t see that. All they care about is the almighty dollar.”
James Zadroga was 34 years old when he died. His daughter Tylerann was 4 years old. She’ll be raised by James’s parents, because her mother died of a heart ailment during the time James was fighting with the city to make them pay for his health care. James was found dead on his bedroom floor by his father. You can read the story here.