Democrats introduced a $7.4B bill to provide care for the first responders who have fallen ill because of their exposure to toxic chemicals at the World Trade Center site.
In keeping with President Obama’s pledge to pay for new expenditures with either spending cuts or new revenue, Democrats proposed closing a tax loophole that multinational companies have been using to avoid paying US taxes.
The Republicans didn’t want to be on record voting for what they viewed as tax increase so they threatened to add amendments to the bill that would be embarrassing for Democrats to vote down. One example would be an amendment excluding illegal immigrants from the aid. The list of first responders covered by this bill has been public for almost nine years and there is no evidence that any of the names on that list are in this country illegally. What is not in dispute is most all of the names on the list are ill and many are seriously ill.
Rather than deal with a whole series of these “poison pill” amendments, Democrats used a process that sped up the vote, prevented amendments, but required a two-thirds vote. That also upset Republicans even though they also used this procedure frequently when they were in the majority.
The vote failed largely along party lines (255-159).
Democrats have offered to put the bill up for a simple vote if Republicans would agree not to propose any “toxic” amendments. So far there has been no response from Republicans.
At the end of the day, this is our fault.
We not only tolerate this sort of behavior, we encourage it. It is our version of Roman blood sport with Fox News keeping score. We created this toxic environment because we failed to hold our elected representatives accountable for putting the interests of party above the interests of people. We also turn a blind eye to those who are making fortunes off encouraging ongoing conflict. Rush, for example, thought it was a laugh riot.
It’s a sad day to be an American.