Editor’s Note: The EPA still displays their notice that the air was safe to breathe at Ground Zero only one week after the twin towers fell. Congress should not need anymore evidence of the government’s negligence in protecting the health of first responders.
Rep. Peter King says he expects a bill that would pay billions of dollars to people exposed to toxic dust from the World Trade Center will fall short in a House vote.
The House is expected Thursday to take up a measure to provide health care for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who fell ill after working in the trade center ruins.
The Long Island Republican on Wednesday accused Democrats of a “cruel hoax” on the bill.
Democratic leaders opted to consider the bill under a procedure that requires a two-thirds vote for approval rather than a simple majority. Such a move blocks potential GOP amendments to the measure.
King said Democrats are worried about casting votes as the fall elections near on controversial amendments, possibly including one that could ban the bill from covering illegal immigrants who were sickened by World Trade dust.
“They’re afraid of taking a tough vote and as a result of that they’re willing to let cops and firefighters die,” King, who supports the bill, said in a telephone interview with AP. “They want to protect their members from having to take a tough vote.”
King said if Democrats brought it to the floor as a regular bill, it would pass with majority support.
The cost has been estimated at $7.4 billion over 10 years.
The legislation is named for James Zadroga, a police detective who died at age 34. His supporters say he died from respiratory disease contracted at ground zero, but New York City’s medical examiner said Zadroga’s lung condition was caused by prescription drug abuse.