The games politicians play.
The House bill would provide special medical benefits for the heroes of 911. Both parties overwhelmingly favor providing the benefits contained in the bill. So why was it defeated and why is the issue so hot in the House?
It is politics of course. It would have passed under the general rules of the House. But those rules allow the proposal of amendments from any Congressman. There is a special rule that blocks amendments. The party that controls the House sets the House rules. The Democrats selected the second rule so Republicans would be unable to propose any amendments.
It would have passed under the general rules. The Democrats control the House and had the votes needed. They chose to present the bill for vote in a manner that assured its defeat.
This New York Times article explains it fairly well. However, I would suggest changing the very first sentence from:
House Republicans on Thursday blocked a Democratic plan to provide billions of dollars for medical treatment to rescue workers and residents of New York City who suffered illnesses from the toxic dust and debris at ground zero.
House Democrats blocked passage of their own plan to provide billions of dollars for medical treatment to rescue workers and residents of New York City who suffered illnesses from the toxic dust and debris at ground zero. Despite having the votes for passage under the general rules, the Majority party chose to invoke a special rule that led to its defeat.
Here is the heated exchange as the two parties display their anger.