Politics, ideology trump first responders’ needs

Many of you have seen Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) rant on the House floor regarding the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (H.R. 847), but do you know who started the whole thing?

On July 29 it was our very own U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who made the motion to suspend the rules, and pass the bill as amended. This would now require a two-thirds majority to pass.

Democrats had the votes to pass the bill, had they put it up for a vote under the regular rules of the House (simple majority). The vote was 255 to 159 in favor of passing (roll call No. 491).

As Rep. Peter King (R-NY) pointed out, Democrats were “petrified” an amendment on illegal immigration would be added and they would be forced to vote on this issue that could hurt them in November.

In the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) offered an amendment that would require that individuals be citizens in order to receive the benefits of the new health program.

This entitlement program extends new health entitlement benefits to a broad range of individuals besides first responders, including those who were near the World Trade Center on 9/11 and those living within 1.5 miles of the World Trade Center.

This amendment would ensure that only those who are legally in America access this new unfunded entitlement program paid for by the American taxpayer. This amendment was rejected by a vote of 27 to 16. All 27 “no” votes were Democrats. Thirteen Republicans and three Democrats voted for the amendment.

Guess how Frank Pallone voted? That’s right, he voted to allow illegal immigrants to have a claim on this new entitlement.

Republicans offered this and other legitimate amendments that were voted down in committee due to the Democratic majority. Politics and progressive ideology once again trump the people they are supposed to represent.

So thank you, Frank Pallone. Because of you and those in the Democratic Party who are afraid to go on the record with their votes on tough issues, for fear of losing their precious seats, the victims and heroes of 9/11 will have to wait another three months for the midterms to be over, to see if they are going to be cared for.

Like Rep. Weiner said, “You vote yes if you believe yes. You vote in favor of something if you believe it is the right thing. If you believe it is the wrong thing, you vote no.” Instead, to steal another phrase from the congressman, it looks like “Democrats are wrapping their arms around Democrats” from here on out, until Nov. 2. I am going to score you a zero on this one.

Paul Arias