NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The topic of 9/11 was the center of an emotional storm on Thursday — this time in Washington, D.C. — as lawmakers debated healthcare funding for responders.
The most heated moments were between two respected members of New York’s delegation, CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reports.
During the debate over healthcare for 9/11 responders, politics got in the way of the people the bill is supposed to help.
“Thank God for our country that the first responders of 9/11 didn’t look for cover before they did what they had to do and lived up to their oath,” said Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island).
King called Democrats cowards for circumventing traditional House rules in an effort to avoid amendment issues like immigration that could come up during the midterm elections.
“This bill should be more important than a campaign talking point. You could have passed it any time during the past three and a half years but you want political cover,” King said.
That sent queens Democrat Anthony Weiner into a red-faced rage.
“The gentleman is wrong! The gentleman is providing cover for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing! It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes!” Rep. Weiner said.
“It is a shame! A shame!”
Watching it all from his home on Long Island was John Foal, a responder who lost half his foot in the days after 9/11.
“I’m utterly disappointed,” Foal said.
And he was sickened when the bill that would help him and thousands of others was rejected by a vote of 244-150, with 39 abstentions.
“I think they’re caught up in the partisan politics of Congress and at the end of the day thousands of men and women who risked their lives without prejudice now have to suffer,” Foal said.
Named after James Zadroga, an NYPD detective who died from respiratory disease related to 9/11, the $7.4 billion bill would provide healthcare and compensation payments to those still struggling with exposure to Trade Center toxins.
“We need healthcare. We need that compensation. So many men and women are financially burdened,” Foal said.
The bill’s sponsors said they’ll try and vote again in September, which means more waiting for those who’ve waited long enough.
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