Forty-one Republican Senators voted against the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would have provided $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to 9/11 responders and their survivors. According to the AP, "The bill failed on a test vote, 57-42. Fifty-seven Democrats voted for the bill and 41 Republicans opposed it. 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." And the GOP refused because they want the Bush tax cuts extension passed first. Now we know: Money for millionaires > 9/11 first responders.
Many believed that this lame-duck session was the best chance for the Senate to pass the bill, which was already passed by the House in September. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said, "The idea that tax cuts for millionaires would derail this legislation is simply outrageous and offensive," saying it was "one of the most cynical reasons I can imagine. The men and women who rushed to the burning towers and worked for hundreds of hours on The Pile did not delay and the Senate should not have delayed either."
Now 59 House members are asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to add the act to the tax bill. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) wrote, "If Senate Republicans are refusing even to debate the Zadroga Act, we should attach it to a measure they won’t ignore: extending the Bush tax cuts. Thousands of Americans, from all 50 states, are sick because of 9/11 and they shouldn’t have to wait any longer to get the help they need. The time is now to meet our moral obligation to those who are suffering because of an act of war against our country. There’s been no greater advocate for 9/11 rescuers and survivors than Speaker Pelosi, and we are hopeful she can give this bill one last push forward before this Congress comes to an end.” This should be fun, because House Dems' rejected President Obama's tax plan.