Bitter fight on Capitol Hill over Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation ActBY Michael Mcauliff
July 29, 2010
WASHINGTON - Anger boiled over a risky plan to pass 9/11 legislation on Wednesday, with Republicans accusing Democrats of cowardice and Democrats crying politics.
Democrats will try to pass the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act today - but they're using a special rule that requires a two-thirds vote to pass.
They say they need to because they fear Republicans would otherwise attach poisonous provisions to kill the bill - but few observers believe a two-thirds vote is possible.
That prompted Rep. Pete King, (R-Long Island), to rage that although Democrats hold a strong majority they lack the courage and leadership to take a stand for 9/11 victims.
"They put this up on the suspension calendar knowing it's not going to get a two-thirds vote," King told the Daily News. "It's really morally disgraceful. ... They are letting cops and firefighters die because their members don't have the guts to take a vote."
King's charges infuriated Democrats, who slammed him for failing to get his party on board.
"The cowards are the ones who are going to put petty politics in front of the lives and well-being of our heroes," Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon fumed.
Rep. Joe Crowley, (D-Queens/Bronx), predicted the GOP will pay if they don't get on board, since the bill is paid for by closing tax loopholes on foreign companies.
"If they feel comfortable having stood back and protected the behinds of foreign companies who are avoiding taxes in this country, fine. Let them defend that," he said.