Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First Responders Health Care Bill Passes Senate!

Senators Chuck Schumer & Kristen Gillibrand
who broked the deal

After re-negotiating H.R. 847—the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (mostly by reducing the total cost of the measure from the House version of $7.4 billion, and the Senates compromise Measure of $6.2 billion, to $4.2 billion, and some other concessions. The Republicans pretending to be overwhelmingly concerned about cost and accountability issues, when they were actually concerned about new fees on businesses, even foreign businesses, to pay for it, have conceded. The changes, coupled with the unusually intense negative criticism and publicity they were receiving by holding up the measure (arguably started by Jon Stewart's spotlighting the issue on The Daily Show), has paved the way for the Bill finally passing the Senate a few minutes ago by a vote of "unanimous consent" (a kind of voice vote). Now the Bill will return to the House of Representatives for a final vote, due to the changes in the Bill. That vote is expected in the House late this afternoon or early this evening.
Also a few moment ago the Senate passed The New Start Treaty (by a 71 to 26 margin), which will help limit the amount of nuclear material and weapons between the United States and Russia.
The passage of these two Measures, plus signing into law this morning the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," makes this day, which happens to be my late mother's birthday, a day of truly historic significance.

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