COBURN PREPARED TO KILL 9/11 HEALTH BILL…. The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would pay health care costs for 9/11 rescue workers, sickened after exposure to toxic smoke and debris, actually seemed to be picking up speed. Proponents changed the financing mechanism, and it appeared that the GOP-mandated supermajority , needed to overcome Republican a filibuster was more or less in place.
But to get the bill onto the floor and passed before the end of the lame-duck session, Democratic leaders would have to thread a small needle. One right-wing senator intends to make sure that doesn’t happen.
New York Democrats hoping for quick action on a bill to give health care compensation to Ground Zero workers are about to run into Tom Coburn.
The Oklahoma Republican and physician — known in the Senate as “Dr. No” for his penchant in blocking bills — told POLITICO Monday night he wouldn’t allow the bill to move quickly, saying he has problems with parts of the bill and the process Democrats are employing.
On Fox News this morning, Coburn said that the bill’s prospects in the lame duck are “doubtful,” adding that the proposal has been “drawn up and forced through Congress at the end of the year,” and “this bill hasn’t even been through a committee.”
It’s important to emphasize how very wrong Coburn is. The 9/11 health bill is only being rushed now because the session is almost over. It’s been pending for over a year; it’s already been brought to the floor once; and it would have been done a long time ago were it not for obstructionism from the likes of Coburn.
As for the committee process, the legislation received a hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in June.
Coburn should know this — he’s a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At a minimum, he should check before lying to a national television audience.