There has been so much going on in Washington, that its hard to keep up with all of it. The negotiations on extending the Bush tax cuts have grabbed most of the headlines, which is understandable. What caught my attention today though, was the 9/11 health bill, and the fact that it has been derailed by Republican opposition.
The James Zadruga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would have provided $7.5 billion in healthcare and compensation for first responders, and survivors of the brutal 9/11 attack on our country. The bill is named after NYPD officer James Zadruga, who like many first responders, lost his life due to inhaling toxic fumes and dust near the 9/11 site. James Zadruga’s son Joseph put into words the pain and suffering many of the familys are feeling, as well as their frustration at Congress for their inexcusable inaction on the matter:
It could have been a good Christmas present for the first responders who are dying,” he said. “Every month we lose a couple. It’s going to increase as the time goes on.
Republicans refused to let the bill move to formal debate until the Bush tax cuts were extended for the wealthiest Americans. The final vote was 57-42, with all Republicans uniting in opposition to the bill. To me, it is unconscionable that Republicans could act in such a cold hearted manner, and refuse help to policeman, fireman, and other workers who risked their lives to save and protect those hurt in the twin towers because of the terrorist attack. I truly wonder what type of human being can make tax cuts for Americans who don’t know how many homes they have(as John McCain famously put it in 2008) a bigger priority than looking out for the brave workers that risked it all to keep America safe in its gravest hour.
This did not have to be a partisan issue at all. Osama bin Laden and the other terrorists did not distinguish between Republicans or Democrats when they decided to fly the planes into the building and cause the mayhem they did. Just as we came together as a nation after September 11th, warring politicians should be able to end the partisan bickering, at least for a bill like this. Sadly they missed the mark again.