The bill was meant to provide medical and benefits and compensation for emergency workers who were among the first to respond to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Supporters of the bill, after yesterday’s defeat, said they would attempt to bring the bill back up through other forms of legislation. However, the defeat almost guarantees that the bill would not be debated or discussed during the lame duck session of Congress.
House previously passed the bill
The House of Representatives had previously passed the bill, but it was sharply divided along party lines. It passed with a vote of 268-160. A Republican filibuster stalled the bill in the Senate and it was ultimately the conservative party’s moves that defeated the bill.
Mayor Bloomberg, of New York City, decried the defeat. He told the press that it was “a tragic example of bipartisan politics trumping patriotism.”
Republicans had balked at the reported $7.4 billion cost of the bill. Democratic Senators, meanwhile, said that the government had a duty to help the first responders of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil in its history.
The bill was known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill after a New York Police Department officer who died. Zadroga had worked in the toxic cloud near the scene of the disaster. The bill was seeking to provide free medical coverage for responders and the survivors of the attack that were exposed to the toxic materials in the air around the scene of the attacks.