Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) seems confident she has found a way to get the Zadroga bill passed after it died last week. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is already on board, and Snowe & Collins of Maine, as well as Murkowski of Alaska are believed to be votes as well. There is a fair amount of Fox News "fair and balanced" in this ABC report but at least the mainstream media is bothering to mention the root causes of this failure, perhaps shamed into it by Jon Stewart.
Via ABC News:
Senate Republicans last week derailed a bill that would provide $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors, but Gillibrand today voiced confidence that the Senate will pass the bill in the next week, now that lawmakers have agreed on how to pay for the measure.
"We have the votes we need," Gillibrand said today at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "We've had indications from several Republicans that they very much want to vote for this bill.
"They would like to vote for a stand-alone bill," she said. "There is general agreement on a new pay-for that we're going to offer, so the hope is to get to the bill as soon as the START bill is completed."
And what is this face-saving move that will allow Republicans to vote for it? Susan Collins of Maine (again) details the Republican objections:
Collins is the GOP's point person on the matter, and has been working with Gillibrand to find new means to off-set the costs of the $7.4 billion bill.
"I support the 9/11 health bill on the merits, and I have talked with Senator Gillibrand about the need for legitimate ways of offsetting its cost," Collins said in a statement on Thursday. "If the Majority Leader were to bring the bill to the floor with appropriate offsets, I would support the legislation."
Gillibrand's new offer.
The off-set in the House-passed measure would close tax loopholes for foreign companies, a move that Collins has objected to on the grounds that it would violate international tax treaties.
Today Gillibrand said that the new off-set would be a 2 percent fee on procurement contracts for certain countries, combined with a visa fee.
As Think Progress noted, Collins and the Republicans reasons are completely bogus.
‘U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Lobbied To Help GOP Kill Bill To Provide Health Care To 9/11 First Responders
Last night, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart skewered Republicans for killing deficit neutral legislation to provide health care to the 9/11 first responders and emergency workers who suffered illnesses from working at Ground Zero. He also mocked the celebrity-obsessed media that has completely ignored the story. Republicans, like Sen. John Thune (R-SD), filibustered the bill because they said tax cuts for the richest 2 percent were a higher priority for Congress. While Republicans quietly snuffed out efforts to compensate 9/11 heroes, they were aided by a quiet lobbying campaign by the powerful lobbying front — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber fought to help kill the 9/11 compensation bill because it was funded by ending a special tax loophole exploited by foreign corporations doing business in the United States.
Apparently, according to Republicans even modest tax increases to foreign corporations is not legitimate anymore. "Whose side are you on?" indeed.