GOP To 9/11 Responders: Drop Dead

May 26th, 2010at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Well, this is just lovely:

Calling the Sept. 11 Health and Compensation Act a new “entitlement program” like Medicare, members of the GOP on the House Energy and Commerce Committee argued the nation already has too much that it must pay for, and making the care of tens of thousands of 9/11 responders mandatory was too much of a burden.

“By making this a new mandatory program, you jeopardize the financial health of the United States of America,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).

And they argued that the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001, were already being cared for, noting the $150 million the Obama recently requested for this year.

Speaking to dozens of responders gathered in a Capitol Hill hearing chamber, Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) argued that their demand for the federal government to help “would be just if we weren’t spending money already.”

“In fact, there’s $131 million in the fund right now. The health care needs of first-time responders have been addressed,” Shimkus declared, referring to contracts that are being spent now and were delayed by the federal government.

“There’s $131 million there that’s unspent,” said Rogers. “The President said 150. Please don’t make it a mandatory program I agree with the President.”

The bill aims to set up a permanent fund to care for ailing responders at a cost estimated around $11 billion over three decades.

Republicans want the responders to come back to Congress every year to make their case, which the legislators argued will help protect against fraud and waste.

(…)

“Some of the conditions that are covered under this legislation seemed unusually broad to me because we’re talking about asthma, sleep apnea, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, even substance abuse,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield. “It’s so broad that I think it’s going to cover a lot of things that may not be directly related to this incident.”

(…)

The whole debate over whether the program should be mandatory or an annual discretionary program misses the point, said Rep. Anthony Weiner, saying it was Congress’ obligation to help the people who answered the call almost nine years ago. And, he noted, the health fund could not be an endless and growing entitlement like Medicare.

“There’s a finite number of people,” Weiner said. “That finite number of people is getting smaller and smaller every day because they’re dying.”

Funny how the Super Patriot Support Our Troops Party never wants to spend money on the people who sacrificed their health and wellbeing in the service of their country.  And accusing them of being greedy scammers and malingerers just adds insult to injury.  For shame.

Entry Filed under: Republicans,Wankers


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