A bill to fund benefits for responders to the September 11, attack was defeated. Like a lot of things about that terrible day, it has become political football.
A Philosopher’s Blog.
For the past decade, 9/11 has been invoked time and time again by the Republicans whenever they wished to start a war, restrict liberty, expand interrogation techniques or silence critics. As such, you would think that they would have voted in favor of a bill intended to provide treatment and compensation to those harmed by that attack.
However, the bill was defeated with 256 (12 Republicans) votes for it and 159 (155 Republicans) against. That is not a typo: the vote was 256 to 159. The reason it did not pass was because the Democrats had decided to use a procedure that required much more than a simple majority. More on this later.
One reason for the Republican opposition was the view that the $7.4 program would be an “entitlement program.”
While it seems likely that some of the money will be misused (after all, 95% of the money sent to rebuild Iraq is unaccounted for), providing medical support and compensation for those harmed in the 9/11 attack does not seem to be mere entitlement. After all, these people are victims of an enemy attack.
Another perspective is here:
As I understand it this bill was not supported by Republicans for a number of reason. You’ll find these discussed in the talk radio segment with Steve Mazlberg, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
1. The bill would allow benefits for illegal immigrants per Malzberg, but there is also piece where Rush Limbaugh says, but seems unsure, that a immigration reform was being linked to the 9/11 bill to get it through.
2. The money could be wasted
3. The money would come from tax changes that might reduce jobs for American hired by foreign corporations.
The facts seem a little unclear to me on these points, especially the first.
If bill was defeated to deprive illegals of benefits with respect to it. That seems wrong to me. Even if someone is in the US illegally, but suffers from this terrorist attack through no fault of their own, why shouldn’t they be helped as the other victims are? Mr. Malzberg apparently doesn’t agree with and asserts most Americans would not.
If a another major immigration policy change was being bundled with the bill and that is why it was defeated, then I’d say the bill should be defeater. But Mr. Limbaugh didn’t seem to be sure about this. You’d think with a staff and given that he was going to discuss this on the air he would have known.
Unless the immigration issue is made clear to me, I can’t see opposing this bill on those grounds.
On point two that the money, or at least some of it, will be wasted – or the benefit of the victims I think we should take that risk.
Point three may have something to it, but any government program comes from taxes. This doesn’t seem like a reason to defeat something so worthy.
It seems like this should have passed, and it is a shame it didn’t.
A final point is that if you listen to the Sean Hannity piece, he spends a lot of time berating a congressman for not reading this bill before voting on it. That seems like as phony an issue as I could imagine. Executives in businesses, do not read line by line every document they sign. They often have staff to read and summarize and look for issues of concern, and based on the findings of their staff they sign. Some Congressmen are lazy jerks I’m sure, but claiming they should, or could read every bills from front to back is a fake and impractical standard.