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Thursday, September 30, 2010

SHS, Dems Support Health Benefits for 9/11 First Responders

O.K., fellow Dems, time to close the enthusiasm gap. Yesterday our Democratic Congresswoman, Stepahnie Herseth Sandlin, cast another vote alongside Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The bill: H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. What does the Zadroga Act do? Same thing James Zadroga did: tries to save lives and clean up the destruction wrought by the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center.

The bill is named for James Zadroga, a New York City police detective who worked several weeks at Ground Zero, and is the first 9/11 responder to have his death in 2006 attributed to illness contracted at the site.

The bill would establish an $7 billion fund over 10 years, with roughly a third of that going to cover the healthcare costs of the victims, and the other two-thirds to compensate them for their losses. Over 20,000 people, according to government figures, have suffered since the event, either from exposure to the toxic dust of pulverized buildings and combusted chemicals, or injuries, or post-traumatic stress, or two or all three [Joseph Picard, "House Passes Ground Zero Healthcare Bill," International Business Times, 2010.09.29].

All but four House Democrats voted for this bill. 88% of House Republicans voted against it. Republicans Kristi Noem likes—the man she won't admit she'll pick for speaker, John Boehner; the woman she imitates, Michele Bachmann; the man whose plan to privatize Social Security and Medicare she supports, Paul Ryan—voted against providing health care to the first heroes of the current War on Terrorism. Why? Because Republicans think paying medical bills for firefighters is "to put on the backs of the American taxpayer a new, $7 billion entitlement program."

Entitlement program? As Rep. Anthony Weiner says, if anyone is entitled to health benefits, it's the people who ran toward the smoke and flames and toxic dust on September 11, 2001.

The vote on the Zadroga Bill shows the gutless, heartless, hypocritical politics you'll get if you vote for Kristi Noem, or if you sit back and let her win by withholding your vote from Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Republicans will cloak themselves in the patriotism and heroism of 9/11, but they won't put their money where their mouths are. Democrats are willing to pay what we owe to our fellow Americans.


  1. Cory: "Democrats are willing to pay what we owe to our fellow Americans."

    Without paying for it. This bill was not paid for but is again borrowed. I thought SHS was for "Pay as you go."

    They did this without doing the following:

    1) Passing a budget. They had to pass another continuing resolution to fund government until after the election. The fiscal year starts Oct. 1. This is the first job of Congress and they can't get that done. But, hey, they have time for Steven Corbert to come make fun at the Capitol.

    Government is an animal of unlimited demands for spending and limited resources. Budgets insure the most necessary gets funded. Works in our homes, in business and would work in government if there were adults in charge.

    2) Didn't act on the soon to expire Bush tax cuts. While you champion the merits of this bill, what has been done for the 3mm people who have lost jobs since Obama came into office. Nothing.

    3) Didn't deal with the ethics charges against Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel. So much for draining the swamp as they promised.

    By the way look at the math of the bill. $3.2 billion for health care costs. $160,000 per potential person assuming there are really 20,000 first responders so injured. $160K is alot of health care.

    And $4.8 billion for "compensation" or $240,000 per person. I guess a 9/11 first responder is more valuable than one right here in South Dakota. What about Chad Michel's family?

  2. P.S. Above message was from me.

  3. Troy, seems like you're defending the indefensible here and throwing up a lot of red herrings and straw men. The wars weren't budgeted either. We shouldn't have to argue about this, brother.

  4. Cory, do you even read what you link to and what you write?

  5. it was the right thing to do.


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