Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Senators who fought against 9/11 first responders’ healthcare can’t use 9/11 in stump speeches

9/11 first responders need our help now. (Photo credit: Reuters)

No, a rule dictating who can evoke the memory of 9/11 to promote their re-election campaigns was not included in the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act– which finally passed the US Senate today– but it should have been.

Senate Republicans filibustered passage of the bill to provide healthcare funding for 9/11 first responders for weeks and tried hard to “run out the clock” on this bill and others before Christmas.

Hundreds of first responders are suffering from cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, and other adverse medical conditions because they worked on the 9/11 rescue and clean-up crews. For one reason or another, many 9/11 first responders have been dumped by their  insurance companies or have reached the ceiling caps on coverage, so they turned to the federal government for help with their medical costs. They even suggested a corporate loophole that could be closed to pay for said coverage.

Shamefully, Senate Republicans tried to kill the Zadroga Bill– named for a first responder who has passed on. Equally shamefully, FOX News– the number one source for 9/11 outrage (remember the Ground Zero mosque?)– was silent on the Zadroga Bill and never reported that Senate Republicans were the ones trying to kill it.

Today, a deal was reached in the Senate. Senators cut back the dollar amount of the compensation and changed the end-date for funding to 2016 from 2031, but eventually the legislation passed today.

I agree with Jon Stewart: Republicans who fought so hard against the Zadroga Bill should no longer be able to evoke the memory of 9/11 in their stump speeches and campaign advertisements. Check out the Jon Stewart link here; it juxtaposes maudlin 9/11 speeches by Republicans with their “no” votes against the 9/11 first responder legislation on December 9, 2010.

17 comments on “Senators who fought against 9/11 first responders’ healthcare can’t use 9/11 in stump speeches

  1. Don
    December 22, 2010

    Sigh.  Tom Coburn made big improvements to the bill, that made it much more efficient and much less prone to fiscal abuse.

    When you run up bills, you have to pay them.  Even when the bills are for noble causes.  Someone should remind Jon Stewart of that. 

    Shamefully, Democrats and their acolytes have demagogued this issue and aired distorted and inaccurate versions about it.

    Of course, what’s more shameful is using the picture of the late Father Michael Judge, FDNY chaplain killed on 9/11, as a political prop.

    Kudos, Tom Coburn.

    • tiponeill
      December 22, 2010

      Of course, what’s more shameful is using the picture of the late Father Michael Judge,
      “Shameful” of course because photographic evidence or Repub hypocrisy is, de facto, “shameful” 🙂

      • Don
        December 23, 2010

        Hey Tucson, remember what tiponeill thought about 9/11?


        Personally, to me 9/11 was really not that big a deal except that it was a psychological slap to the American ego and sense of self righteousness and entitlement.

        So, tip, why the change of heart?  The deaths of 3000+ Americans, to include Father Judge, weren’t a big deal to you this past September…but now that you can use their suffering to poke at Republicans, you’re a gosh darn patriot?

      • tiponeill
        December 23, 2010

        No change of heart – just continuing to observe the political hysteria and hypocrisy

    • Ernie McCray
      December 22, 2010

      How did a noble endeavor, giving heroes medical attention, fighting people in order to do it, evolve into “shamefully?” Of, course, when you run up bills you have to pay them, so what’s needed, now, and always, is for the House and Senate sit down to take care of that, to maybe consider that fighting illegal wars with our teenagers, just might need to cease. Perhaps, our billionaires and multi-millionaires, in general, need to pay a fairer share to help our economy. With the world in big trouble, our elected officials need to knock off playing tired old partisan games and talk to each other and to us.
      And We the People need to do our part; we need to remind ourselves that our politicians are supposed to work in our behalf but too often we’re too busy attacking each other. Our deficiencies are glaring: lack of compassion, tagging struggling people with identities like “illegal,” elevating heterosexuals over homosexuals, outlawing courses designed to include the histories of those who have been excluded so that they can find their place and then work with the power of their knowledge to find ways to get along with others and make the world a better place.

    • pamela
      December 23, 2010

      Regarding running up bills: initially the first responders had suggested closing a corporate loophole to pay for this bill. I don’t know what happened to that idea. I can imagine Jon and John saying, “Close a corporate loophole?! That’s crazy talk.”
      So, Don, does this mean you opposed extending the Bush tax cuts? They certainly weren’t paid for.

      • Don
        December 24, 2010

        Nice try at misdirection, Pam.  Sorry, but the trial lawyers who fund so much of the Democratic Party’s efforts won’t be able to replenish their bank accounts on the backs of ailing New Yorkers.  You’ll have to raise campaign funds some other way.

      • Pamela Powers
        December 24, 2010

        Check out the story in today’s Arizona Daily Star. It reiterates my contention that this benefit for first responders does not add to the deficit. Also, if their insurance companies hadn’t dumped them for being too sick, they would not be asking the government for help.
        There are plenty of Republican lawyers out there. Give me a break.

      • Don
        December 24, 2010

        I triple-dog dare you to make a convincing case that trial lawyers are a major source of GOP income.  Trial lawyers are a huge source of your party’s funding. 

        Oh, and Coburn pointed out lots of other flaws in the original 9/11 responders’ bill, besides its impact on the deficit.  Flaws which Coburn fixed. 

      • pamela
        December 24, 2010

        Personally, I believe that there are too many white, male, millionaire lawyers– regardless of party– in our government. This is why we have so many 1000+ page bills loaded with legalese that most people don’t understand. I don’t know which is worse– the millionaire lawyers in Congress or the short-sighted, uneducated wingnuts in our state government.

      • Don
        December 24, 2010

        Taking less of the people’s money from them is something that has to be “paid for?”  Thanks for placing yourself on record; Google never forgets.

        To answer you directly, the voters told all of us how they plan to “pay” for the Bush tax cuts:  cut activist government and the spending that goes along with it.  Judging by the large number of Democrats the American people cut from government at federal and state levels, I’ve got a pretty good idea of which kinds of stuff is going to be cut.

  2. tiponeill
    December 22, 2010

    They have moved on from “9/11”  24 hours a day to “illegal” 24 hours a day.
    I for one am grateful that “gay” 24 hours a day no longer rates air time.

  3. Pingback: Senators who fought against 9/11 first responders healthcare can’t use 9/11 in … – Tucson Citizen | The Write Article

  4. daleleblanc
    December 22, 2010


    People should never forget that real health depends how well you take care of yourself and not what health insurance you carry but I agree health insurance is important for every one. Search “Wise Health Insurance” online for dollar a day insurance plans.


  5. Don
    December 23, 2010

    The link in the main article, titled “Senate Republicans,” leads to an ABCNews.com post that quotes…the noted liberal authority on politics, Jon Stewart. By following the link, you’ll see that only one “Senate Republican” is named as delaying the 9/11 funding bill:  Tom Coburn.

    Well, who is this dastardly Tom Coburn?  A Halliburton clone?

    No, he’s an obstetrician, who used to fly back to Oklahoma from the Senate on weekends and deliver babies.  That is, until Harry Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader of the Senate, objected. 

    Here’s what Tom Coburn had to say about the final 9/11 healthcare bill:


    “I’m pleased the sponsors of this bill agreed to lower costs dramatically, offset the bill, sunset key provisions and take steps to prevent fraud. Every American recognizes the heroism of the 9/11 first responders, but it is not compassionate to help one group while robbing future generations of opportunity. I’m pleased this agreement strikes a fair balance and improves the bill the majority attempted to rush through at the last minute,” Dr. Coburn said.

    The agreement includes the following changes:
    Reduction in Costs. This agreement saves taxpayers $6.2 billion from the substitute amendment and $7.5 billion from the House-passed bill. In the deal, costs are reduced to $4.2 billion in the 10-year window and eliminated outside the 10-year window. Of that amount, $1.5 billion will go to health benefits, while $2.7 billion will go to compensation.
    Permanently Close the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) after 5 years. The original bill kept the VCF open through 2031, making it extremely susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse and incurring significant long-term costs. The fund is now open only through 2016 and has language to expressly say that it is permanently closed at after 5 years.
    Limitations on Attorneys Fees. Places a hard cap for attorneys’ fees at 10 percent of the total award and allows the Special Master to reduce attorneys fees he believes are excessive
    Prevents Reinstatement of Civil Claims. Prevent claimants who are rejected from the VCF from then pursuing a civil lawsuit. This is consistent with the earlier VCF policy.
    Limitation on Infrastructure Costs. Explicitly excludes construction and capital projects from health care spending in the bill.
    Commitment to ensure eligible individuals cannot “double-dip” on benefits. The Senators all agreed to get in writing from the Special Master that he will include workers compensation benefits in collateral sources of benefits that he must offset from potential compensation awards.
    More Accountability. Require claims-level data reporting to provide accountability and opportunity for oversight, as well as GAO reports to determine less expensive mechanisms to provide nationwide care, pharmaceutical access, and health information technology promotion.

    • Don
      December 23, 2010

      Correction—the link titled “Senate Republicans filibustered”

  6. David Howard
    December 23, 2010

    Google “China Syndrome at the WTC”

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This entry was posted on December 22, 2010 by in Congress, John McCain, Jon Kyl.

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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