Health care for 9/11 heroes

Senate Republicans held 9/11 responders’ health care hostage.

Daily Editorial Board

The Republican minority in the U.S. Senate has filibustered many, many bills over the last two years. In most cases, there are at least plausible arguments Republicans make in defense of these filibusters.

But thereâÄôs just no excuse for their recent blockade of a bill that would give 9/11 rescue workers health aid and compensation.

On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of first responders risked their lives trying to save others. Many suffered long-term health consequences as a result of inhaling dust and toxic fumes during rescue work.

The bill is the least we can do to make sure these heroes have their health taken care of in the long term.

But the motion to bring the bill to the floor received 57 yes votes and 42 no votes, with 60 yes votes needed to succeed âÄî its failure was along party lines. Every American should be offended that this bill became political and disturbed that 42 senators voted to block it.

The filibuster of this bill becomes more odious when one hears the Republican justification for the blockade. Senate Republicans had agreed not to take up any legislation whatsoever until all of the expiring Bush tax cuts were extended. They voted against extending tax cuts both for income up to $250,000 and up to $1,000,000, with both measures tallying 53 yes votes to 36 no votes, not enough to be brought to the floor.

In other words, Senate Republicans blocked aid to 9/11 rescue workers because lower taxes for income over $1,000,000 constituted a higher priority for them.