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Tilting at Windmills

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July 29, 2010

GOP OPPOSES MEDICAL FUNDING FOR 9/11 VICTIMS.... I was under the impression that the emergency teams who responded to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 are considered American heroes. The nation's support for these men and women is unequivocal and unending.

At least, that was my impression. I guess I underestimated congressional Republicans again.

House Republican leadership is advising its members to vote against a bipartisan bill that would, among other things, bolster medical support to Sept. 11 victims.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009, sponsored by New York City Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D), provides medical monitoring to those exposed to toxins at Ground Zero, bolsters treatment at specialized centers for those afflicted by toxins on 9/11 and reopens a compensation fund to provide economic loss to New Yorkers.

And it's all paid for by closing a tax loophole on foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries, Democrats say.

A policy statement from the House GOP leadership believes a victims' compensation fund is too large, and would remain open too long, which in turn creates a "massive new entitlement program" -- and Republicans hate entitlement programs.

As for financing, because the right pretends to care about the deficit, Dems made sure that every penny of the proposal is paid for. This, too, outraged House Republicans, because tax increases, even on foreign companies, even to benefit 9/11 victims, are always evil.

We're left with Republicans, in an election year, taking a bold stand against funding for medical care for 9/11 heroes.


Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Yep. And no one cares. Here in Joe Sestak's congressional district, I see numerous beat up old cars from the '90s with Toomey stickers. Because the former Wall Streeter is on their side, you see. Americans, by and large, are huge idiots wearing neon KICK ME signs.

Posted by: Nick on July 29, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

"We're left with Republicans, in an election year, taking a bold stand against funding for medical care for 9/11 heroes."

And they are calling us lazy and implying we are stupid.

They keep telling us that unemployed people are unemployed because they are lazy. That blows me away! Why aren't the D's stringing them up with their own rhetoric?

Then they tell us that the tax cuts for the Paris Hilton's of the world, the same tax cuts that helped lead us into this screwed up economy, must be extended because letting them sunset would hurt our economy. In other words, they think the American people are stupid. Look at the nonsense they used to sell us these tax cuts. Now look at the nonsense they are using to try to convince us to keep the tax cuts. The only way we would fall for this is if we were daft.

Now maybe the GOP is merely trying to rile up their base. That I'd get. I mean, I can buy that the Republican base IS lazy and stupid. But the rest of us aren't, and we should be POed by this nonsense.

Posted by: glibber on July 29, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Nick - I wonder if the folks in your district know that Toomey makes regular fundraising requests to the big corporations. In fact, he and my worthless senator Richard Burr co-hosted a get together for the corporate lobbyists promising to support the corporate agenda and work against the populist agenda. What a sorry bunch of representatives we have and to my dismay, with his corporate money Burr is ahead of Elaine Marshall - a great person in NC.

Posted by: JS on July 29, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

About 40,000 Americans meet violent death every year, so that we have the freedom to travel at 70 mph+ on the highways. Where is the special compensation for their families? Not that I don't have sympathy for the relatives of those killed in 9/11, or respect especially for the firefighters and others who died or were injured trying to save others (they do this all the time, not just when we are attacked by terrorists), but exaggeration of the effects of events like 9/11 makes it all the easier for jingoists to call for more invasions next time.

Posted by: skeptonomist on July 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, you didn't address the objections raised by the GOP at all. What does that say about your post? Just because money can be found doesn't validate the usage.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on July 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are worried about creating yet another entitlement program? For medical costs borne by our first responders and other emergency crews during the aftermath of 9/11? WTF!

I guess the Republicans don't want any entitlement program (imagined or real) competing against their efforts to grant entitlement relief to their uber-rich constituents by opposing the sunsetting of the BUSH TAX CUTS!

Continued tax cuts for the rich! Now that's an entitlement program the Republicans can get behind! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on July 29, 2010 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Many of the workers exposed to the toxins belong to labor unions, such as the Laborers' International or Operating Engineers. Naturally the Repugs would denigrate anything that involved assisting such ingrates.

I can't wait until Rudi Giuliani wades in on this...

Posted by: Mudge on July 29, 2010 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

The money is going to be needed, because a lot of New Yorkers are going to be having medical issues from breathing so much asbestos in the years after 9/11.

Of course, Bush's EPA whitewashed the whole issue and didn't take the steps to remediate the problem, effectively kicking the can down the road. Now it's yet another disaster the Dems have to handle as usual.

Posted by: bdop4 on July 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Skeptonomist, with all due respect, a group of volunteer firefighters pulling 48-hour shifts sifting through dangerous rubble is hardly the same thing as letting people drive fast.

Lord knows we've spent enough money responding to 9/11 in our "desperate hunt for the culprits." Not to mention our desperate hunt to make war profitable for a few American corporations.

Seems only fitting that a tiny fraction of the money we've spent in an insane military response should actually go to help, you know, the actual victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Posted by: chrenson on July 29, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

We're left with Republicans, in an election year, taking a bold stand against funding for medical care for 9/11 heroes.

To Republicans, they were only "heroes" so long as they were useful as campaign props and to provide fodder for bumper stickers, etc. Now that some time has passed and they're no longer immediately useful for that purpose, they're to be kicked to the curb just like the rest of the nation.

Posted by: electrolite on July 29, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

skeptonomist - while I generally agree with you regarding the large payouts that were to go to surviving family members of those killed in the attack (did they ever get them?), in this case the workers who were involved in the cleanup of the site suffered injury thanks to the Bush EPA telling them there was no danger. That was a lie - a lie that resulted in hundreds of people working at the site unprotected for weeks. Now many of them are disabled due to severe respiratory damage, etc.

The government caused this problem through malfeasance; it's up to the government to make it right to the extent it can.

Posted by: Jennifer on July 29, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Hurricanes and tornados usually strike red states and since they seem to have a history of recurring forever, disaster aid is an entitlement that will go on forever. I say let's stop these entitlements and let these people fend for themselves. They should move to New York City, where both these disasters do not occur with the frequency in the south.

Posted by: flyonthewall on July 29, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Michael7843853 and deranged-bush-hater (?):

"We no longer need these people as campaign props, so screw 'em!"

The callous, me-first, greedy attitude of the right is coming out so well nowadays. I just hope most Americans finally notice ... even though many are the exact same way.

Oh, and it's nice to know that the GOP is siding with foreign companies against 9/11 responders on an issue that won't even increase the debt one penny.

Stay classy, fellas!

Posted by: Mark D on July 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Why is it detrimental to the repugs, will any of the MSM comment on it? will it appear in WP OR NYT?
Will anyone on CNN or NBC or ABC or CBS headline it or even make a comment about it. Assholes will continue to be assholes since there is never any sunshine exposed on their exposure. And if it is never mentioned on any national media how many of the great unwashed and semi-literate members of "Average America" ever even know about it since we can be sure that Faux won't mention it.

Posted by: grandpajohn on July 29, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Re: the last post about the Dems trying to tie the GOP to the Tea Party - that's too complicated.

Here's what I'd rather see: ads and a script that goes something like this: FDR was elected in the darkest days of the Depression on his pledge to offer a New Deal to the average working people in this country - security from poverty in old age, a social safety net to the unemployed, banking regulations to make sure the abuses that led to the crash didn't happen again. Now, 80 years later, we find ourselves in the worst economy since those dark days of 1932. In response, the GOP is offering the working people of this country the RAW Deal - cuts in Social Security and Medicare, refusals to extend unemployment benefits to millions who can't find work, opposition to regulating the bankers and brokers who caused the recession - all while insisting that taxes for the wealthiest remain at the lowest level since WWII, even though their share of the wealth is at the highest level of the past century.

I really think tarring their "ideas", such as they are, as the RAW Deal vs. the New Deal, would be a much more effective line of attack.

Posted by: Jennifer on July 29, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that throughout the period 1981 to 2004, New York received between $.80 and $.89 in federal spending for every dollar in federal tax paid by its citizens. In 2005, the state got $.79 of spending per dollar of tax paid. Over the same period, Alabama got between $1.29 and $1.67 in spending per dollar of tax paid. In 2005, that ratio was $1.67 to $1.00. Guess which state's citizens complain most about federal taxation.

Posted by: Robert Abbott on July 29, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK
. . . reopens a compensation fund to provide economic loss to New Yorkers.


Posted by: noncarborundum on July 29, 2010 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

But it is union membership and rights that will weaken national security and influence these hard workers to not respond to emergencies like this; these emergencies will be used as a bargaining tool.

Well, at least that is what the GOP used to say repeatedly.

Something tells me that it is failure to properly care for these heroes, just like this, that will have a far bigger impact and influence on whether our safety forces respond or don't respond to events like 9/11.

Posted by: bubba on July 29, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean the GOP is done using 9/11 as a prop for everything ?

Posted by: BurghMan on July 29, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Another way of putting the thing is that the GOP opposes the bill because there's no money in it for well-connected Republicans. Back in 2008 Tommy Thompson got himself an $11 million contract with Bush's HHS to track (but not treat) the sick 9/11 workers. This is the same Thompson who as head of HHS did little to protect the workers from exposure to dangerous substances in the first place.


Posted by: smintheus on July 29, 2010 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't the Republicans just go out and shoot a puppy in the middle of the street? They could always round it off by knocking some pregnant woman and kicking her in the stomach on their way back to the pavement.
The Republicans have insulted blacks, women, latinos, gays, muslims, union members, the military, scientists and anyone with more than two brain cells to their name. Now they're going after 9/11 responders? After p*ssing off 90% of the electorate, this is the group that's going to win back the House and - dare I say it? - the Senate in November? What HAVE the Villagers been smoking?
Better yet, why are WE inhaling it too?

Posted by: Doug on July 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

You can demonize "Republicans" all you want. The main issue is that the Democrats can't pay for this without raising taxes and America is broke. Look, we would all love to have a perfect world where everyone's every whim is taken care of but unfortunately that costs money. Someone has to pay for all these entitlement programs no matter how noble the intentions.

Posted by: Tommy from Chicago on July 31, 2010 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone is entitled to something? Seems thats what our country has become. What did JFK say? Hmmm, something about doing something instead of always expecting something from your country. Our military sons and daughters who make the ultimate sacrifice should be the first ones receiving more compensation. Problem is democrats and republicans spend more time filling their own pockets and worrying more about who has more power than doing what is right.

Posted by: sporty on August 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK



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