December 9, 2010, the United States Senate held a cloture vote on
the James Zadroga 9/11
Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847). This legislation fell short
by 3 votes of the 60 votes needed to pass cloture.
Senate Republicans do not support funding the 9/11
Health and Compensation bill by closing the proposed
tax loophole. The Republicans have
also expressed their concerns for a lack of proper Senate procedure
on the bill, as it has lacked any committee mark-up. However, a
Senate hearing was held in June of this year on the 9/11 Health
Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senator
Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) have been circulating several alternative
funding sources to cover the 7.4 billion dollar cost. Over
the weekend they drafted an alternative bill that would cut
the cost down to 6.2 billion dollars and fund the bill through different
offsets . The new proposal would cover the cost by procurement and
fees related to visas.
new bill will formalize a 10- year authorization program to treat
and monitor individuals with medical conditions related to the September
11, 2001 attack. It would also establish the World Trade Center
(WTC) Health Program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services and provide monitoring treatment for responders around
the country. The Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) would reopen enrollment through 2031. The original claim
date was December 2003 after all known claims had been paid. Even
though the cost of this bill is lowered by 1.2 billion dollars,
it does not affect what is paid out through the VCF.
changes have brought new momentum to the 9/11 Health and Compensation
bill and new obstacles to overcome. Time is running out as members
are anxious to return home for the holidays. The Senate has tentatively
scheduled to vote on the 9/11 Health Bill but first the New START
treaty and funding of the federal government must be addressed.
Schumer and Senator Gillibrand have secured
the support of two Republican Senators which
will insure the necessary 60 votes to pass the legislation. If this
occurs the bill will still need to have a vote scheduled for final
passage in the Senate. Then the House will also need to vote on
the legislation, since it has been modified from the version they
passed in September.
are expected in the Senate on Wednesday. NAPO is pushing for final
passage of this bill and will continue to bring you updates.