When you see a headline like this one from the Baltimore Sun, “Republicans deny medical aid to 9/11 First Responders ” the first thought that should come to anyone’s mind is – why? And there is always a reason why. But it often takes some effort to find it.
In this case, the first thing that came to my mind is “no they don’t”. The headline is a not so subtle propagandic phrase. What the Republicans are denying is this particular proposition for expansion of certain medical benefits. There are just four objectives that drive political actions, power, money, election/re-election and the good of the country. Meanness does not further any of these objectives; however, painting your opponent as being mean, does.
Democrats could have passed the bill in July. Democrats controlled the Senate; Democrats controlled the House. The party that controls the House sets the House procedural rules for each bill. The vote was 255 in favor to 159 opposed. Why didn’t it pass? The New York Times explained
“Democrats used rules requiring a wider majority for approval to prevent Republicans from offering amendments on the floor that would embarrass Democrats in an election year”
And further stated,
“the federal government has been appropriating money on an annual basis to monitor the health of people injured at ground zero and to provide them with medical treatment. But the bill’s supporters said there were problems with the year-to-year approach, including that money for the program was subject to the political whims of Congress and the White House.
So, if we are to believe the New York Times, it was the procedural rules set by Democrats in charge that killed the bill. And it was done to prevent certain “embarrassments” to Democrats in an election year. See above, paragraph 2, objective 3, “election/re-election.”
Also according to the Times, the 911 first responders have been getting funds from the federal government all along. No one, neither Republicans nor Democrats have denied medical benefits to these heroes. The bill is less about the first responders (objective 4) than it is about power, money and election/re-election (objectives 1 to 3).