CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW?
I see that there appears to be a deal to get the Zadroga bill through Congress:
The deal to pass athe 9/11 health bill is done, the Daily News has learned.
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand met with other senators' staff and staff from Rep. Carolyn maloney's offce until well after midnight, cutting a new deal and trimming the package to care for 9/11 responders to $4.3 billion, sources close to the deal said.
They reached final agreement at about 11:30 this morning after the New York Democrats met for an hour with the prime GOP opponents, Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Majority Leader Harry Reid is said to have joined the talks at the end, and agreed to try for quick passage.
... Besides cutting the price for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act from $6.2 billion, the time span was also significantly limited to five years each for the health treatment program and the reopened 9/11 Victims' Compensation Fund....
The Zadroga bill originally had a cap almost twice as high -- $8.4 billion -- and a much more generous time limit; it was originally paid for by closing a tax loophole for foreign companies doig business in the U.S., though it's now paid for by an excise fee on foreign companies that receive U.S. government contracts. In other words, if you're a Republican, it was once an evil commie piece of legislation, and now it's marginally less commie. I'm sure the Baby Jesus will personally thank Senator Tom Coburn in one of their regular chats.
The New York Times says:
...Republicans backed down after facing a barrage of criticism -- not just from Democrats, but also from traditional Republican allies, including former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, and conservative news outlets like Fox News.
Yeah, Rudy came around on this -- eventually -- as (eventually) did some on Fox, mostly thanks to Jon Stewart's tireless efforts and the efforts of responders themselves.
Notice who didn't say a word, by the way? The first guy ever to exploit 9/11 first responders for personal gain. The guy who's so proud of having been the first to exploit 9/11 responders for personal gain that, in his recent best-selling memoir, he printed a huge double-page photograph of himself doing the exploiting -- a photograph he deemed so important to his act of promoting itself that it appeared before the title page, before the dedication, before the table of contents, before any of the text:
Those are pages ii and iii of George W. Bush's Decision Points, via Amazon Reader.
Can we hear you now, George? Well, 1.75 million copies of your book featuring that photo have been sold, but on the subject of the Zadroga bill, no, we couldn't hear you.