By LOU YOUNG
NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Did Congress turn its back on the heroes sickened at Ground Zero? The anger and finger-pointing escalated Friday after explosive tirades on Capitol Hill.
CBS 2 HD was right in the mix as Rep. Anthony Weiner and Rep. Peter King engaged in a round 2 of sorts, a carryover from their explosive tirades inside the House chambers on Thursday night after the $7.4 billion 9/11 first responders bill failed to pass.
CBS 2 HD anchor Chris Wragge tried to keep the dialogue moving, but it was clear Weiner and King had other agendas as they escalated their attacks on each other’s party.
Needless to say, the fight for care for the brave men and women has turned ugly.
Apoplectic Weiner teed-off on his Republican counterpart from Long Island on Thursday night over the health care bill for 9-11 workers, which stalled in a partisan vice of parliamentary maneuvering, while the people who labored at ground zero sicken and die.
King pleaded with the Democrats to make the vote a simple majority to by-pass his own party’s far-right wing. On Friday, as King stood side-by-side with Weiner, he restated his position for CBS 2 HD.
“Republicans have a built-in opposition. I’ve been fighting Republicans on this for five years. Where I disagree with Anthony is we’ve known all along this would not get 290 votes,” King said.
But Weiner and the majority of the New York delegation insisted on trolling the full House for an amendment-proof two-thirds majority for the health care bill, which then failed under Republican-lead opposition.
Weiner said the GOP would’ve burdened the legislation with amendments and said they the party be held accountable for voting against it.
“Unfortunately, my friend Peter gave a lot of comfort to people who wanted to focus on the process when there are people there saying, like Mr. Goodlife from Virginia, ‘oh people die all the time,’ or people saying ‘we don’t like the way you’re paying for it.’ Those are of the voices of the Republican Party and that can’t be obscured here,” Weiner said.
The victims of ground zero find themselves caught in the middle of the debate with serious illnesses.
“I have chronic sinusitis, breathing problems. My nasal passages are severely swollen,” John Sferazo said.
“To me, it’s ridiculous and childish,” responder Glen Klein said.
“Partisan politics got the best of everyone last night,” John Feal added.
And for too many it is already too late.
“They let Jimmy die like a dog. And I really truly believe that if they helped him they would have helped him, maybe get lung transplant,” said Joe Zadroga, father of James Zadroga, the police detective for whom the legislation is named.
Democrats now promise to bring the Zadroga bill back to the House by September, for a simple majority vote. Some ground zero workers also have until Sept. 8 to accept a much smaller settlement recently approved in federal court.
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