The two obstructionists, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) agreed to a compromise which reduced the total compensation package to $4.3 billion, down from $6.2 billion. The “time span was also significantly limited to five years each for the health treatment program.”
“I’ll stand in the way of anything that doesn’t make sense and doesn’t spend our money wisely, so you know, it doesn’t matter what the issue is, we’re in such a hole, Jon, that we don’t have the luxury of not getting things right,” Coburn told ABC News today after announcing the deal.
Last night on CNBC, Coburn defended his obstruction of the bill and his insistence that it lavishes too much money on dying 9/11 first responders, saying “we’re spending four times as much money as we need to.” Coburn said that the actual cost of pre-deal bill would be $11 billion (he disputed the way the Congressional Budget Office scored it), and suggested that it was not paid for, saying, “we don’t have an extra $11 billion right now.” ....
Of course, the bill would not require an “extra” $11 billion. The bill is entirely paid for by offsets, some of which were changed at the GOP’s behest. As ThinkProgress has noted, these offsets — which at one point included a tax on foreign corporations — led the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to lobby against the measure. ...
The Senate passed a compromise version of the 9/11 first responders bill this afternoon. "The measure was passed on a voice vote with no one objecting after Democrats and Republican critics reached a compromise reducing the bill's cost from $6.2 billion to $4.2 billion." The House will vote on it later today.
I still feel pissed off that this did not pass with out Republican obstruction, in its original form, and with out making these responders fear for their futures. Taking care of these people who took care of us should have been something that we could all agree on.
Via Think Progress