Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Wants to Kill the 9/11 Health-Care Bill

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Though Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand believe they have lined up enough support to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would provide medical care to first responders and cleanup workers sickened by the toxins of ground zero, time is now their greatest enemy. Last night, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that in order for the House to be able to pass the bill before leaving for its Christmas recess, the Senate would need to pass it first today.


“My plea to Senator Reid is that if you’re going to send us anything that we need to deal with, send it, frankly, by [Tuesday],” Hoyer told The Hill. “I don’t think that’s possible, but my members want to get home for Christmas, and I think bringing them back between Christmas and New Years — hopefully, I’d like to avoid that.”

The majority leader, however, did not explicitly rule out the House returning to act on the 9/11 bill. “I suppose anything is possible,” he said.

Making such quick passage especially difficult is the stated intention of Oklahoma's Tom Coburn to use procedural tactics to delay and obstruct the fully funded $6.2 billion bill — likely killing it, according to Hoyer — because he doesn't think it has been sufficiently examined and debated. And if he doesn't like it, then nobody can be allowed vote on it. "We can do this next year, and we should," Coburn insisted on Fox News this morning. If some of the heroes of 9/11 die in the meantime, so be it.

Coburn Will Block 9/11 First Responders Bill, Potentially Killing Its Chance Of Passage [Think Progress]
Coburn may block 9/11 bill [On Congress/Politico]
House: Senate must hurry on 9/11 bill [Hill]