Breaking: Deal reached on 9/11 responder health bill; Update: Coburn says deal is “fine”

posted at 1:10 pm on December 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Wall Street Journal reports that a compromise deal has been cut on the proposal to establish a health-care fund for 9/11 first responders.  The contentious issues of cost and perpetuation have apparently been hammered out, and the deal could mean a swift end to the lame-duck session of Congress:

Republican and Democratic senators struck a tentative deal to approve an aid bill for Ground Zero workers after New York lawmakers agreed to scale back its cost and accept other conditions, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Lawmakers for both parties met late into Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning to work on the details of the revised $4.3 billion package, a reduction from the original $7.2 billion legislation.

Instead of an unlimited entitlement, the GOP got a limitation of five years for the new fund.  They also got a commission to study whether the treatment should come through the VA.  The funding sources have not yet been announced, although that was one of the main sticking points for Tom Coburn.

Assuming that the agreement addresses that issue, the deal should allow the lame-duck session of Congress to end this week.  Harry Reid already has cloture on the START ratification, and the vote is scheduled for either today or tomorrow after debate on a resolution that will accompany the treaty ratification, allowing Republicans to add amendments giving a sense of the Senate on issues such as missile defense and verification.  The WSJ reports that the 9/11 responder bill may pass by acclamation this afternoon, which means that Congress could finally adjourn on Christmas Eve or even tomorrow.

Update: Coburn seems happy with the deal:

Sen. Tom Coburn is backing off a bill that would aid Sept. 11 responders, after threatening to torpedo it with a tactical delay.

“It’s going to be fine,” Coburn said. “We’re running traps on it. We got a good deal that takes care of the people that need to be taken care of and also takes care of our future, by not spending money we didn’t need to spend.”

When asked about the details, Coburn demurred. “I’ll let them put it out,” he said, referring to New York Senate Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer. “There’s a deal. The deal’s closed. And all we’re doing is running the traps and I’ve run a lot of the traps on my side and it looks like it’ll go by [unanimous consent] this afternoon.”

That sounds as if Coburn’s insistence on finding the funding without extra borrowing was satisfied.


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No one got “banned” last night did they?..:)

Dire Straits on December 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Do you know something I don’t know, you idiotic, insane troll///

Knucklehead on December 22, 2010 at 3:13 PM

OT Senate vote to ratify START Treaty.

upinak on December 22, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Do you know something I don’t know, you idiotic, insane troll///

Knucklehead on December 22, 2010 at 3:13 PM

No..Just having fun with you!..LOL!..:)

Dire Straits on December 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM

My friend’s family went damn near bankrupt trying to save her father’s life after he came back from ground zero. After all their savings were emptied, after she took a job instead of finishing school, he died. That you consider that the proper solution is despicable.

ernesto on December 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Does this “friend” have a name? Who was the father? What was his role on 9/11? What did he die from? How old was he? What medical costs did his family incur that were not covered by existing insurance?

angryed on December 22, 2010 at 3:15 PM

THERE IS NO LIMIT to what these people have earned. There is no limit to our debt to these people. NO LIMIT AT ALL. Suck it up, and pay the f*cking bill.

ernesto on December 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Amen. Don’t stress it, dude. These people are in the small minority and it will be taken care of now.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Amen. Don’t stress it, dude. These people are in the small minority and it will be taken care of now.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:22 PM

taken care of how? Please do tell!

for a slug, you surely aren’t the fastest.

upinak on December 22, 2010 at 3:25 PM

I don’t work for the citizens…the police and firefighters do.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 2:54 PM

IF it were only police and fireman who were getting this money, THEN I might not have as big a problem with it, though I’d still have my reservations.

They won’t be the only ones getting this, though.

catmman on December 22, 2010 at 3:28 PM

taken care of how? Please do tell!

for a slug, you surely aren’t the fastest.

upinak on December 22, 2010 at 3:25 PM

The bill just passed the Senate. Keep up.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:30 PM

And you won that DREAM Act thing, so children of illegal immigrants can be deported even if they were brought here as small children,
factoid on December 22, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Since you obviously never read the bill, here’s some of the fine print:

The bill’s 30 year old age cap on “children” only applies to date of enactment, and the registration window will remain open indefinitely regardless of future age.

The bill actually allows illegal aliens to get legal status indefinitely without any college or military service.

Shall I go on?

TxAnn56 on December 22, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Quite aside from the philosophical question of whether 9/11 first responders should get special funding for their healthcare…

Can someone explain to me credibly why providing for their healthcare should cost us seven or even four billion dollars?

Using that measuring stick of waste and inefficiency, we can expect the eventual national healthcare regime that Obamacare is a step toward to cost us roughly 30-50 trillion dollars per year, or 4 times the size of our entire economy, if we were to extend the same healthcare the 9/11 heroes are getting here to everyone.

HitNRun on December 22, 2010 at 3:32 PM

The bill just passed the Senate. Keep up.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Hey MORON! They have been taken care of for the LAST 10 YEARS?

WTF have you been or are you working for the CIA?

upinak on December 22, 2010 at 3:35 PM

The bill just passed the Senate. Keep up.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:30 PM

The point that we have been trying to make is that it will never end. Everytime some NY/NJ lawmaker wants to steal from the entire country they will pick this scab and never let it end. Tens of billions of taxpayer monies have been spent and that doesn’t even take into account charities and private donations. This has to have an end at some point or we’ll be paying second and third generation survivors of 9/11 first responders.

darwin-t on December 22, 2010 at 3:37 PM

There were about 1000 fire fighters I think was the number I heard there and about 350 got killed. Lets call it 1,000 fight fighters that will benefit from this bill anyway and that works out to $4.3 million for every one.

While I agree these men and woman were hero’s, we don’t give money away like this to men and woman in the military who give their lives in the service of our country.

JeffinSac on December 22, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Hey MORON! They have been taken care of for the LAST 10 YEARS?

WTF have you been or are you working for the CIA?

upinak on December 22, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Hey Demon, I’ve heard what their problems are and most of America gets it too. The bill passed and they’ll be taken care of. End of story.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:43 PM

This thread makes me more than a little sick. I’m about as true red as anyone on this site. But the rhetoric coming down on this bill is almost too much to take. Deborah Reeve was a FDNY paramedic who died in 2006 of mesothelioma at age 41 after spending hundreds of hours working at ground zero. She was a 17 year veteran of the FDNY and NYC EMS. She spent the last year of her life fighting for workers compensation and line of duty injury benefits. The workers comp was denied but she was awarded a disability pension the same week she died. She never received one check. After her sick leave ran out, other members of the department donated sick leave to her, but the city and the department denied the transfers. She was taken off payroll and her benefits terminated. She left behind a husband and two kids who at the time of her death were 12 and 6.
http://newsblaze.com/story/20060320091837nnnn.nb/topstory.html
These are people who are sworn to protect their fellow citizens. That (in this conservative’s point of view) is the most basic form of government. And I know more than one person will rant on about the gold plated city pensions. But for someone like Deborah who spent most of her career paying 9 3/4% of her pay into her pension, to ultimately be denied any benefit doesn’t seem like gouging the taxpayers to me. She gave her life, as well as many others, protecting and saving the lives of her fellow citizens.

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 3:48 PM

End of story.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Yeah, say that 5 years from now. Keep up slug.

upinak on December 22, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Amen. Don’t stress it, dude. These people are in the small minority and it will be taken care of now.

fastestslug on December 22, 2010 at 3:22 PM

So they haven’t been taken care of up to now? I can understand meanie old Bush doing this. But if this is so critical, why didn’t Obama act on this issue on Day 1? Why didn’t Reid and Pelosi act on Day 1 in 2007 when they took over?

The answer of course is because all these supposed victims had all the health care they could ever want and more.

Same as Obamacare. Every day there are supposedly thousands of people dying on the doorsteps of hospitals. But Obamacare doesn’t start for another 3 years. So I guess for 3 years all those supposed dying uninsured people will continue to die? How awful!

angryed on December 22, 2010 at 4:02 PM

But for someone like Deborah who spent most of her career paying 9 3/4% of her pay into her pension, to ultimately be denied any benefit doesn’t seem like gouging the taxpayers to me. She gave her life, as well as many others, protecting and saving the lives of her fellow citizens.

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Boo hoo. I pay 12.4% of my income into Social Security and bu the time I retire (which will be about 20 years after govt workers get to retire) I will get $0 back since SS will be insolvent.

angryed on December 22, 2010 at 4:04 PM

angryed on December 22, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Yeah we all pay that, next.

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Yeah we all pay that, next.

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 4:22 PM

the point is.. how old are you? And what union do you work in?

It is obvious…angry doesn’t work in a union with a ponzie scheme.

upinak on December 22, 2010 at 4:25 PM

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 3:48 PM

I sympathize, I do.

But all the problems she had were the result of the system she was in. It isn’t incumbent upon the American taxpayer to pay for the mistakes of her union or retirement fund or anything else.

catmman on December 22, 2010 at 4:42 PM

The bill’s 30 year old age cap on “children” only applies to date of enactment, and the registration window will remain open indefinitely regardless of future age.

The bill actually allows illegal aliens to get legal status indefinitely without any college or military service.

Shall I go on?

TxAnn56 on December 22, 2010 at 3:31 PM

In order to be even considered under this bill, you must have been under 16 when you were brought to this country, you must have graduated from high school, you must not have committed a crime (other than the original illegal entry) and you must have lived in the US for 5 years. In plain English, you must have been a good kid who was brought to the US as a child.

If you meet those criteria, you get 6 years of probation, during which you must complete at least two years of college (no Federal money for college, sorry) or serve two years in the military.

If you do that, you get a green card, and after 5 more years of being crime free, and after passing an exam in citizenship and English, you get citizenship.

So yeah, illegal alien kids, who were brought here before they were legally competent, but then learned English, graduated from high school, were crime free, went to college or served this country, could, after 11 years, become citizens. I happen to think this country should welcome citizens like that, but what I think doesn’t matter, because you guys won that fight.

The kids meanwhile will get deported along with the 400,000 people the Obama Administration deported in 2010 (up from 370,000 in the last Bush year).

factoid on December 22, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Colburn … what a tool. You make yourself out to be defender of bad bills then cave … oh and the beard looks like crap.

Monkei on December 22, 2010 at 5:12 PM

catmman on December 22, 2010 at 4:42 PM

It’s not a failure of the union or retirement fund. It’s a failure of the city and state to recognize the cause of her illness until it was too late. The city and state were contractually obligated to pay worker’s compensation and line of duty benefits to members hurt in the line of duty (whether you agree with that or not, it’s a contract.) First responders provide the service end of a government agency. They are employed by the taxpayers. Sort of like the military. Is it not incumbent on the taxpayers to help wounded soldiers? So, (and I’m honestly listening to other points of view), why is it different for first responders?

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Its different because this money isn’t coming from the taxpayers of NY state. Its coming from taxpayers elsewhere.

And my point is that it was a failure of her state. One the American taxpayer must now bail out.

catmman on December 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM

The workman’s comp issue is a state matter, NOT FEDERAL! If New York did not have the funds for the folks that worked the pile at ground zero, that’s the states fault! Where has Paterson been on this issue? Where is the state legislature with this issue? The amazing thing is the US taxpayer is going to be on the hook to bailout a state with the second highest taxes in the country. Something is not right here. Where is all the money going? Rhetorical yes, we know it’s going to the exorbitant pensions of the friendly unionized government worker. Which begs to question, where are the unions? They spend so much of dues to get people elected but not as much to save the lives of folks who are looking to the union for help. Hmmmmmmmm…

Atlanta Media Guy on December 22, 2010 at 9:28 PM

This thread makes me more than a little sick. I’m about as true red as anyone on this site. But the rhetoric coming down on this bill is almost too much to take. Deborah Reeve was a FDNY paramedic who died in 2006 of mesothelioma at age 41 after spending hundreds of hours working at ground zero. She was a 17 year veteran of the FDNY and NYC EMS. She spent the last year of her life fighting for workers compensation and line of duty injury benefits. The workers comp was denied but she was awarded a disability pension the same week she died. She never received one check. After her sick leave ran out, other members of the department donated sick leave to her, but the city and the department denied the transfers. She was taken off payroll and her benefits terminated. She left behind a husband and two kids who at the time of her death were 12 and 6.
http://newsblaze.com/story/20060320091837nnnn.nb/topstory.html
These are people who are sworn to protect their fellow citizens. That (in this conservative’s point of view) is the most basic form of government. And I know more than one person will rant on about the gold plated city pensions. But for someone like Deborah who spent most of her career paying 9 3/4% of her pay into her pension, to ultimately be denied any benefit doesn’t seem like gouging the taxpayers to me. She gave her life, as well as many others, protecting and saving the lives of her fellow citizens.

davymark8 on December 22, 2010 at 3:48 PM

That’s heartbreaking, but it doesn’t sound like a money issue, but one of being ground in the wheels of bureaucracy. Where were her union reps? Where was the press to shame these people into covering her? Why was she being denied?

What it sounds like is someone needs to go in there and knock some heads together and find a clue.

How is tossing more money into a pit going to help people like this woman? If there are morons and a-holes running the fund, then no amount of money sitting there is going to help anyone.

kim roy on December 22, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Yep, let’s just all open our pockets to tend to the health care needs of those providers (some of whom, no doubt will be fraudulent), their families, heirs, successors and future generations. No problem. We have plenty of money to give out.

kens on December 23, 2010 at 11:41 AM

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