A bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid to those sickened by World Trade Center dust fell short in your House of Representatives on Thursday, highly raising the possibility that most of the compensation will have to come from a legal settlement being argued 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. (WTF is going on here…do these people not DESERVE this!!)
Doctors have linked Trade Center dust to a variety of health problems, including breathing ailments with symptoms similar to asthma. Thousands have been diagnosed with at least mild respiratory problems, or reduced lung function, and a smaller group has suffered from more serious, life-threatening ailments. Yet, doctors have had a difficult time saying how many of the other health problems being experienced by ground zero workers are actually related to the dust — especially deadly illnesses like cancer.
It failed to win the needed two-thirds majority, 255-159. The vote was along party lines as usual, with only 12 Republicans joining Democrats supporting the measure. Democratic leaders opted to consider the House bill under a procedure that requires a two-thirds vote for approval rather than a simple majority. By doing it this way, even though it made the vote more difficult to pass, it blocked potential GOP amendments to the measure.
Nothing like stagnating an important bill just because the GOP couldn’t add their own sh*t to it. Of course they found a way to pass blame even though they just didn’t vote for it, and that is why it did not pass….PERIOD!
A key backer of the bill, Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican, accused Democrats of staging a “charade” and a “cruel hoax” King said Democrats are worried about casting votes as the fall elections are near, including one that could ban the bill from covering illegal immigrants who were sickened by World Trade dust.
“They’re afraid of taking a tough vote and as a result of that, they’re willing to let cops and firefighters die,” King, who supports the bill, said in a telephone interview with AP. “They want to protect their members from having to take a tough vote.” King said if Democrats brought it to the floor as a regular bill, it would pass with majority support. (How about pointing the finger at all the GOP members who did not vote for it?)
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.
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.
The cost has been estimated at $7.4 billion over 10 years.
Oh, and on top of the visible physical difficulties and health issues, thousands of police officers, firefighters and construction workers who spent time at the Trade Center cleanup have also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.