9/11 Responder Aid Package Fails In House

It boggles the mind to see how the GOP and “Blue Dog” Dems discuss continuing the the “Bush Tax Cuts” which they now admit, will cause a huge increase to the deficit, but would rather see middle class workers and unemployed citizens suffer by failing to pass the necessary bills to help them.

Yes, the jobs bill was passed but will be revisited in November.   The 9/11 first responders who have been injured from the toxic environment (after being told the air quality in the area was safe to work in) are gravely ill and/or dying from their heroic work nine years ago.   What makes the right-wing so damned incapable of compassion and common decency?

Huffington Post 

WASHINGTON — A bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid to people sickened by World Trade Center dust fell short in the House on Thursday, raising the possibility that the bulk of compensation for the ill will come from a legal settlement hammered out in the federal courts.

The bill would have provided free health care and compensation payments to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who fell ill after working in the trade center ruins.

It failed to win the needed two-thirds majority, 255-159. The vote was largely along party lines, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats supporting the measure.

For weeks, a judge and teams of lawyers have been urging 10,000 former ground zero workers to sign on to a court-supervised settlement that would split $713 million among people who developed respiratory problems and other illnesses after inhaling trade center ash.

The court deal shares some similarities with the aid program that the federal legislation would have created, but it involves far less money. Only the most seriously ill of the thousands of police officers, firefighters and construction workers suing New York City over their exposure to the dust would be eligible for a hefty payout.

But supporters of the deal have been saying the court settlement is the only realistic option for the sick, because Congress will never act.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you can wait and wait and wait for that legislation … it’s not passing,” Kenneth Feinberg, the former special master of the federal 9/11 victim compensation fund, told an audience of ground zero responders Monday in a meeting on Staten Island.

Democratic leaders opted to consider the House bill under a procedure that requires a two-thirds vote for approval rather than a simple majority. Such a move blocked potential GOP amendments to the measure.

A key backer of the bill, U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican, accused Democrats of staging a “charade.”    Continue reading…