With the Zadroga 9/11 health care bill stalled in the Senate, Manhattan Congressional members Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney traveled to Ground Zero to take aim at their colleagues in the upper chamber.
“Health care for Americans who are ailing because of 9/11 should not be held hostage to partisan politics,” Maloney said. “It’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Republicans have refused to consider any legislation until the Bush tax cuts for highest earners are extended.
“The Senate did not forget the heroes and heroines of 9/11, they punched them in the face,” said Nadler. “They deliberately and with malice of forethought punched them in the face. They said to the heroes and heroines of 9/11, we don’t care about you. We don’t want to consider you.”
Republicans have said that the $7.4 billion price tag on the bill was too high. Maloney and Nadler would like the bill to be attached to the tax cut measure, which would require sign-off from President Obama and the leadership in the Senate. Both Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have come out in favor of the legislation, but it remains unclear that either would risk further complicating the tax measure by tacking Zadroga on to it.
If the bill were to come in the floor on its own, it would stand a decent chance of passage. Newly-sworn in Illinois senator Mark Kirk supports the bill, leaving Democrats one vote short of a 60-vote fillibuster proof majority. Maloney and Nadler both named the two senators from Maine, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and Florida’s George LeMieux and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski as persuadables. (Needless to say, getting named by the Manhattan delegation as their favorite Republican senator isn’t likely to endear any of these four to their base.)
“I wouldn’t say we are in a terribly optimistic situation,” Nadler said, “But we still have a shot.”
After the press conference, John Feal, who helped with the 9/11 clean-up and has helped lead the effort to pass Zadroga, led Maloney, Nadler et al in a spirited rendition of “God Bless America.”
Take a look: