Posted by | December 17, 2010 16:58 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

Now that the Republicans finally have secured their tax cuts for the rich, can they finally stop holding health care for 9-11 first responders hostage? Is that too much to ask? The House of Representatives already passed the bill, with an overwhelming majority of Republicans voting against it. It’s clear that Republicans would rather protect the corporate tax loopholes being eliminated to pay for the 9-11 health care bill than use that money to care for chronically ill and dying 9-11 heroes. But it is about time that Senate Republicans at least stop filibustering this bill.

The filibuster was originally meant to be reserved for extreme circumstances, such as when majority party would do something so egregiously against the will of the people that the minority party would have to put up a 60-vote roadblock for the good of the country. Trying to provide health care and financial aid to 9-11 first responders does not warrant a filibuster. These heroes selflessly put themselves in dangers digging through rubble and ash, searching for survivors with no thought to their own health and welfare. Along the way they exposed themselves to unknown carcinogens and suffered devastating health conditions like lung cancer and heart disease.

Shame on the mainstream media for their total failure to point out to the American people that Senate Republicans are not only against this bill but are actually filibustering. The only TV “pundit” who has given this issue the coverage it deserves is Jon Stewart, who devoted his entire final show of the year to the subject. If the media in this country actually knew how to do its job, the Republicans would never be able to get away with this vile obstruction.

But at this point I don’t care anymore that Republicans have completely avoided paying any political price for prolonging the pain and suffering of those who risked, and in some cases lost, life and limb on 9-11. Enough of the political games and procedural tricks. For the love of God just pass the damn bill, so we can finally get our heroes the help they deserve.

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