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The Embarrassed Republicans and the 9/11 First Responders… an American Drama

When the Senate passed the 9/11 First Responders Bill yesterday it was over 6 Billion Dollars lower than it was originally proposed… primarily because the funding now ends in 2016 instead of 2031… due to Senator Tom Coburn.

Senator Tom Coburn

Coburn vowed to block the 9/11 First Responders  bill, saying he wanted it to be funded through spending cuts. He also claimed the bill had been fast-tracked and skipped committee (but, in fact, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the bill in June — Coburn, a committee member, missed it.)

 

And then two major things happened that shined the light on Republicans in an embarrassing way: Jon Stewart used a whole evening of The Daily Show not to joke, but to interview New York police, fire and other officials who suffered from the physical affronts that effect first responders; and then a large number of those responders swarmed into Coburn’s office:

As John Feal, head of the First Responders, said:

“Mr. Coburn should be ashamed of himself, because I think before he was a senator he was a doctor and he took an oath to help people that are sick. He’s going against his oath as a doctor. He can vote any way he wants as a senator, but as a doctor, he just embarrassed the medical profession.”

Apparently all the Republicans were so embarrassed that the revised bill got 100% support. Mitch McConnell even made a public appearance to say that they were all for the bill before they were against it (well he had to say something).

This became one of Obama‘s big wins yesterday and Mitch McConnell must have suffered through the press conference the President held in the afternoon which certainly pointed a finger at the Republican opposition.

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Is Fox News blocking support for 9/11 First Responders?

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Fox News Runs Interference For GOP Obstructionism On 9-11 First Responders Bill

For his sake, I hope Fox News anchor Dave Briggs still has a job in 2011.

The reason I’m not sure Briggs is long for the Fox News world is because during his report this weekend about the fate of the 9-11 first responders bill, which Republicans recently blocked in a naked bout of obstructionism, Briggs committed an unspeakable sin: He told the truth.

Specifically, Briggs actually pointed out that filibustering Republicans purposefully stood in the way of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, designed to aid and compensate first responders who have suffered from respiratory disease following their heroic efforts on the morning of the Sept. 11.
Here was Briggs on Sunday morning:

How maddening has it been watching this — watching the, in particular, the Senate Republicans recently holding up a vote that would give health coverage to thousands of your peers?

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Now it looks like the 2 New York Senators are going to try to put this bill through again, somewhat cut down. Will the Republicans hold it up again with a filibuster? Remember that the House already approved this with a 100 vote plurality. Blocking it has been merely a political gambit.

We’ll have to see if it gets through before Christmas. It SHOULD if there are any morals left in Congress.

Maybe one more Republican will be ashamed enough of their killing this bill last week that they will come in next week…Maybe.

This is disgusting. For ten years the First Responders, suffering from and often dying from 9/11 injuries and exposure, have been unfunded. This has to end.
clipped from abcnews.go.com

Democrats Confident that 9/11 Health Bill Will Pass.

The first responders still suffering health effects more than nine years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks could get a “Christmas miracle” this year, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said today.
Senate Republicans last week derailed a bill that would provide $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors, but Gillibrand today voiced confidence that the Senate will pass the bill in the next week, now that lawmakers have agreed on how to pay for the measure.
“We have the votes we need,” Gillibrand said today at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “We’ve had indications from several Republicans that they very much want to vote for this bill.

“They would like to vote for a stand-alone bill,” she said. “There is general agreement on a new pay-for that we’re going to offer, so the hope is to get to the bill as soon as the START bill is completed.”

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