GOP blockade of 9-11 health bill

I don’t understand why this particular Senate GOP obstructionism over the Zadroga bill isn’t a bigger story. Isn’t 9/11 part of the conservative mantra? Why the media silence? Crumbles in the stone wall of silence, but this outrageous stance should be on front pages of newspapers everywhere, and lead story on all the television news too. The House passed the bill a while ago, but the GOP is still fighting against it.

With Senate Democrats upping the pressure for passage of the bill giving health benefits to sickened 9/11 responders, it’s going to get increasingly hard for GOP Senators to maintain their opposition. That’s because even right-leaning commentators and political operatives are growing mighty uncomfortable with the Senate GOP’s stance.

Case in point: This morning Joe Scarborough ripped into GOP opponents of passing the bill, which is called the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. He said Republicans were taking a big risk, and the crucial point Scarborough made is that this should be a national issue, not a New York one:

Why wouldn’t we take care of their health care? It’s just like taking care of veterans’ health care,” Scarborough wondered aloud. “It can’t be a good move for Republicans to oppose a bill for the firefighters and the cops on 9/11.” “How did this become a New York issue?” Scarborough continued. “That is like Pearl Harbor becoming a Hawaii issue in 1951. It’s ridiculous.” Senator Jon Kyl and other GOP Senators don’t appear moved by such entreaties. Over the weekend he took a break from obstructing the New START treaty in order to express concerns about the costs of the 9/11 bill, calling for more time.

(click to continue reading The Plum Line – Conservatives growing uncomfortable with GOP blockade of 9/11 health bill.)

Wonder if Jon Stewart’s one man campaign is having any effect? Video segment here (if you can get it to load, I had trouble)

Thursday’s “Daily Show” was the last episode of the year for the news comedy show, yet there were very little laughs. Instead it focused on a devastating interview with four of the 9/11 first responders. Kenny Speck, Chris Bauman, Ken George and John Devlin epitomize New York tough-guy firefighters, emergency workers and police officers, and all suffer from severe diseases and injuries as a result of the work they did in the first days after the terrorist attack on lower Manhattan.

It was the latest in a series of attacks Stewart has launched on the Republicans for blocking a bill to fund health care for 9/11 first responders. He also has been scathing of the scant network coverage of the bill.

Republicans have said they will block the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act until the Bush tax breaks were extended. Now that the tax cut bill has been approved and will likely be signed into law, it remains to be seen if the Republicans will stop stalling on a vote for the Zadroga bill.

(click to continue reading BlogPost – Jon Stewart’s campaign for the Zadroga bill (Video).)

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