Anthony Weiner made headlines July 29 when the Democratic Congressman from New York abandoned composure in a speech on the house floor. Weiner vented his anger at Republicans who blocked the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Democratic plan calls for billions in health care aid for 9/11 rescue workers and New Yorkers ill from toxic dust and debris at ground zero. Weiner, along with his Democratic cohorts, accused Republicans of cowardice, among other things. That Democrats are guilty of more big government spending was the predictable Republican response.
What’s in the 9/11 health care bill
A majority of lawmakers in the chamber supported the 9/11 health care bill. But the New York Times reports that the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed, 255-159. Under special rules used to bring the measure to the floor a two-thirds majority was needed. To monitor and treat injuries stemming from exposure to toxic dust and debris at ground zero, the 9/11 health care bill would have provided $3.2 billion over the next eight years. Another $4.2 billion would be set aside by the bill to compensate for economic losses.
Two-thirds majority required by Democrats
After it was evident that Republicans had enough votes to defeat the 9/11 health care bill, Anthony Weiner erupted in a speech on the house floor. The New York Daily News reports that the two-thirds majority rule was a Democratic ploy to speed up the vote. Democrats, with their eyes on the November elections, feared Republicans would embarrass Democrats by attaching toxic amendments in a simple majority vote. The two-thirds majority rule doesn’t allow fiddling with amendments.
Procedure used by Republicans as reason to oppose the bill
When he heard Republicans using the use of the two-thirds majority rule as their reason for voting no on the 9/11 health care bill, Weiner exploded at the lectern. CBS News reports that Peter King, Republican congressman from New York, called democrats afraid for not voting on their amendments and said by holding the vote they were staging a charade. King’s comments led to Weiner’s 90-second fulmination. He shouted at Republicans, calling them cowards for voting no because they didn’t like the procedure:
“It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes,” Weiner yelled. “It is a shame. A shame! If you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care – then vote no! But don’t give me the cowardly view that ‘Oh if it was a different procedure…’.”
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/nyregion/30zadroga.html?_r=2&src=mv
New York Daily News:http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/07/28/2010-07-28_911_bill_in_trouble.html
CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20012217-503544.html
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