Republicans Block U.S. Health Aid for 9/11 Workers

New York Times
Published: December 9, 2010

WASHINGTON — Republican senators blocked Democratic legislation on Thursday that sought to provide medical care to rescue workers and residents of New York City who became ill as a result of breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke from ground zero.

The 9/11 health bill, a version of which was approved by the House of Representatives in September, is among a handful of initiatives that Senate Democrats had been hoping to approve this year before the close of the 111th Congress. Supporters believe this is their last real opportunity to have the bill passed.

The Senate action created huge uncertainty over the future of the bill. Its proponents were working on Thursday to have the legislation inserted into a large tax-cut bill that Republicans and Democrats are trying to pass before Congress ends it current session later this month.

But whether that happens is in part up to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader. The bill’s backers are counting on Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, a top Reid deputy and a supporter of the bill, to persuade Mr. Reid to go along with that idea.

Such a move might complicate passage of the tax package, which includes another provision that Democrats, including President Obama, sought in return for supporting tax cuts Republicans wanted: an extension of unemployment benefits for jobless Americans.

In a vote largely along party lines, the Senate rejected a procedural move by Democrats to end debate on the 9/11 health bill and bring it to an up-or-down vote; 60 yes votes were needed, but the move received only 57, with 42 votes against.

Republicans have been raising concerns about how to pay for the $7.4 billion measure, while Democrats, led by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, have argued that the nation had a moral obligation to assist those who put their lives at risk during rescue operations at ground zero.

The bill is formally known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after a New York Police Department detective who participated in the rescue efforts at ground zero. He later developed breathing complications that were common to first responders at the site, and he died in January 2006.

After the vote, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a chief sponsor of the bill in the House, urged Senate Democrats to include the 9/11 health bill in the larger tax-cut legislation to, in effect, dare Republicans to oppose it in that context.

“The Zadroga Act must be added to the tax cut bill, which is the one measure the Senate Republicans won’t leave this town without passing,” she said.

In a statement released by his office after the vote, Mr. Reid gave no indication of whether he would insert the 9/11 measure in the tax bill Republicans are seeking. But he attacked Republican senators for what he described as misplaced priorities.

“Republicans denied adequate health care to the heroes who developed illnesses from rushing into burning buildings on 9/11,” he said. “Yet they will stop at nothing to give tax breaks to millionaires and C.E.O.’s, even though they will explode our deficit and fail to create jobs. That tells you everything you need to know about their priorities.”

The vote was a blow to the bill’s sponsors, who mobilized a network of allies across the political spectrum to lobby on behalf of it, including the New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Ms. Gillibrand, the chief sponsor in the Senate, even reached out to former President George W. Bush. But her aides say Mr. Bush did not respond to her entreaties.

In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg chastised Senate Republicans for their “wrong-headed political strategy” and called on them to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote. “The attacks of 9/11 were attacks on America,” he said, “and we have a collective responsibility to care for the heroes — from all 50 states — who answered the call of duty, saved lives, and helped our nation recover.”

The bill calls for providing $3.2 billion over the next eight years to monitor and treat injuries stemming from exposure to toxic dust and debris at ground zero. New York City would pay 10 percent of those health costs.

The bill would also set aside $4.2 billion to reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to provide compensation for job and economic losses.

In addition, the bill includes a provision that would allow money from the Victim Compensation Fund to be paid to any eligible claimant who receives a payment under the settlement of lawsuits that 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers recently reached with the city. Now, those who receive a settlement from the city are limited in how much compensation they can get from the fund, according to the bill’s sponsors.

There are nearly 60,000 people enrolled in health monitoring and treatment programs related to the 9/11 attacks, according to the sponsors of the bill. The federal government provides the bulk of the money for those programs.

If the bill is not adopted by the current Congress, its supporters will have start over again next year. With Republicans set to take over the House, passing the bill in that chamber will be extremely difficult, the bill’s supporters say. That is a large part of the reason backers of the measure are pleading with Senate leaders to get it passed by this Congress.

More Coverage:

Senate GOP blocks 9/11 first responders health plan bill

9/11 health bill fails first test, Senate Republicans filibuster measure in 57-42 vote

Senate Republicans derailed a bill to aid people who got sick after exposure to dust from the WTC's collapse in the Sept. 11 attack


And pathetic that these fuckers couldnt find it in their hearts to do the right thing. Not even at christmas time. At least they aren't going to get their tax cuts as planned.

Please call Senator Reid, early and often!

If there is any resistance or waffling on this then it is time for some good old American hardball politics. If you either live in Nevada or an adjoining state, suggest that if Senator Reid does not fight hard for this that you will work for his defeat in six years.

Play nice first, then take off the gloves only if needed. Thanks.

His DC voice mail boxes seem to be full at the moment, so I called one of his Nevada offices and left a message. I will try again tomorrow.

Carson City
600 East William Street, #302
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-882-7343 / Fax: 775-883-1980

Las Vegas
Lloyd D. George Building
333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 8016
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030

Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building
400 South Virginia Street, Suite 902
Reno, NV 89501
Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

Rural Nevada Outreach Contact
Matt Tuma
Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327
Toll Free for Nevadans: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343) -Restricted to calls originating from area codes 775 and 702

Reid Newsroom
Sen. Reid’s Nevada Press Office 202-224-9521 (for inquiries from Nevada media).
Senate Democratic Communications Center 202-224-2939

I agee Satyavira

They are pathetic. Well their day will come.

Who's Who

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brown (R-MA), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Not Voting
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
LeMieux (R-FL), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Specter (D-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Harry Reid

Is listed as 'Nay', but here's why:

Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, switched his vote to 'no' at the last moment, a parliamentary move that allows him to bring the measure up again for a vote.


Outrageous to the level of ...


And people say this Government...

Or elements within it would never do so many things... like murdering 2,973 people.


From Charlie Giles: "Emergency Press Conference Today 1PM Sharp in front of 7 World Trade Center, by the PATH. Our Congressional & Senatorial supporters will be there as well as The Fealgood Foundation, Mr. John Feal, The Leader in pushing this legislation forward. Please come & show support to 9/11 First Responders & to send a message to Washington DC to pass HR847 / S1334. Thank You."

Apparently, the Democrats are going to attempt to attach the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act to the tax bill that the GOP are trying to pass. So, there's still a chance, albeit a slight one.

Attaching to the tax bill

In my calls to Sen. Reid's office, I told them that the Senator needed to get the bill passed by any and all means, even if he had to attach it to the tax bill.

This is absolutely disgraceful and makes me even more ashamed to be associated with the United States.

I really think the bottom line here is that certain people want all these folks to die and go away asap.

Makes me sick with anger (and I don't get angry easily anymore).

Please, everyone call Sen. Reid and your state's senators.


Dear 1st Responders ...

Many of us do thank you for your ultimate sacrifice, your health. If we could take the pain away we would. Instead, we are left to stand by your side forever, especially now in the face of these evil and selfish people. You are not alone, I promise.

possible october surprise?

perhaps the rep.s are holding it back for pr reasons so the dem.s dont get kudos
then later if the reps themselves let it through they can get kudos and the dems get none
dont know, just speculating
whichever way, i just want it to go through

And to think...

That all of these "representatives" get free health care on the tax payer's dime. Including Ron and Rand Paul. If these people are so against government "benefits" why not refuse government benefits for themselves?

I don't have words to describe the sheer brazenness, chutzpah, slimy, disgusting, noxious, foul, you're-a-mean-one-Mr. Grinch scummery that these people represent.

They are lower than the lowest pond scum dwelling suck fish.

May they rot in Hell.


And lest we lose sight of the broader picture, millions of non-911-related-Americans still lack basic health care, a "luxury" afforded by the most "primitive" of societies, who have bizarre ideas about taking care of the sick and elderly. Quite a "society" we're building here. No surprise, since, according to Ayn Rand and Margo Thatcher, "there's no such thing as society".

The lunatics are running the asylum.