A passionate and angry debate erupted on the House floor yesterday, over a bill aiming to provide over $7 billion in aid the first responders to the attacks of 9/11 who have been negatively effected by toxins in the air. Republicans were able to rally enough votes to defeat the bill, which engendered an absolute fiery response from NY Democrat Anthony Weiner.
At the heart of the debate was a procedural maneuver made by Democrats to suspend the rules before consideration of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The move allowed leadership to block potential GOP amendments to the measure (there was worry that Republicans would attach something overtly partisan in hopes that it could pass on the otherwise widely-popular measure). It also meant that the party needed a two-thirds majority vote.
When the final tally was announced, there were 255 representatives for the measure, 159 against. The defeat of the bill, which would have provided free health care to those affected during the 9/11 rescue and recovery, likely means that the court system will have to settle compensation issues.
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