Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 20, 2010

9/11 HEALTH BILL LOOKING A LITTLE STRONGER.... Over the weekend, we learned that the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would pay health care costs for 9/11 rescue workers, sickened after exposure to toxic smoke and debris, wasn't quite dead. Two weeks after a unanimous Senate GOP caucus successfully filibustered the bill, there were signs of life.

As of this morning, the momentum appeared to be on Democrats' side. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" that the bill's supporters "now have the votes." The senator added, "We've made some modifications that some of our Republican colleagues requested and if no one does undue delay, just stands up and delays and delays and delays, we will get this done."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) added on CBS that sponsors have "changed how we are paying for the bill," which should generate just enough Republican support to deliver "a Christmas miracle."

They apparently won't be getting any help from Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who seemed unimpressed with the legislation during an appearance on Fox News yesterday.

"First of all, they should have peace of mind when it comes to health care. The question is what and how? And when you try do it, as you said in your introduction, in a hurry, in a lame duck session, without a hearing, without understanding what the ramifications are and whether we can amend the bill, you're doing it in the worst way. [...]

"Nobody wants to deny care to people who, and by the way these are primarily people who helped to clean up the site in the aftermath of 9/11 and there weren't enough adequate precautions taken in some cases to deal with potential health issues and to the extent that they've become ill they do need to be taken care of. It's one thing to make an emotional appeal to say we need to care for someone who did something good. It's another to do it in a sensible way. And that's all we're asking for."

That's not a bad pitch, except for the fact that it's wrong. The 9/11 health bill hasn't been done "in a hurry"' it's been pending for over a year. It hasn't been advanced "without a hearing"; the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing and advanced the bill to the floor.

And if Kyl and other far-right senators had suggested changes, they've had plenty of time to bring them forward. Indeed, it was GOP senators with ideas on financing that has led to changes that now make final passage possible.

For what it's worth, Republican campaign aide Kevin Madden told Fox News yesterday, "I think there is also a lot of worry on the Republican side that what used to be a New York issue could quickly become a national issue. I think it will be approved."

Here's hoping that's true.

Steve Benen 11:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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And just where is giuliani on this?

Posted by: wordtypist on December 20, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. Jesus Fucking Christ, it takes a comedy show to get anything done around here. "9/11, 9/11, 9/11!" Anybody remember that shit?! Senate of idiots..

Posted by: Trollop on December 20, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think it was HuffPo that reported that this legislation would have been funded by closing a tax loophole that benefited foreign corporations. Shockingly, the US Chamber of Commerce has been strongly lobbying against its passage for just that reason. Now that Dems have "changed how we are paying for the bill" it will probably pass. I know, I know, the most important thing is getting it passed, but, for God's sake, at least expose the GOP for the corporate ass-kissing shills that they are while you're at it!!!

Posted by: reddogs on December 20, 2010 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Kyle's reprehensible lies on this issue are of a piece with reprehensible his lies on START. The Repubs woke up after the tax cut extension law was signed and saw the President receiving some favorable media and it caused them to stop, again. The truth is they would hold anyone hostage-including first responders dying of cancer and the entire US population exposed to the risks of nuclear tipped missles-to prevent Obama from receiving any credit for anything.

Posted by: robert on December 20, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Robert, you said it all. Johnny K and his fellow criminals will do anything to keep President Obama from successfully governing the country even if it means nuclear war.

Posted by: maggie on December 20, 2010 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

The COC said it keeps foreign money in foreign accounts so as not to affect American government. That they worked to keep a tax loop hole open for foreign interests shows that to be a lie.

Posted by: Kill Bill on December 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

so what, now they're paying for it by reducing unemployment assistance? canceling pell grants? robbing grandmothers?

is there no vile stance for which this party will pay a political price?

Posted by: ahoy polloi on December 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"I think there is also a lot of worry on the Republican side that what used to be a New York issue could quickly become a national issue."

Shine a little light on these fools and they wither. More please.

Posted by: Chris on December 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly, I think their main objection was that it was paid for by closing a major corporate tax loophole.

Can't have that, now can we?

Posted by: fourlegsgood on December 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

the republicans in the senate are still loathsome vile creatures... contemptible.

never forget.

Posted by: andyvillager on December 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

And it sure was nice of the Republicans to ensure that the tax loophole that provides a nice little tax shelter for corporations will remain in place. Another red letter day for the Republican party.

Posted by: Vince on December 20, 2010 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK



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