On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into two skyscrapers in New York City. As office workers panicked and their formerly mundane work environment suddenly became a gnarled warehouse of firy death, selfless firefighters and police officers ran into the building to try to save lives. Many of them didn’t make it out alive. But all of them went there with a common purpose. A sense of duty, yes, but something more than that: They went in there to contract cancer and other health complications from the smoke and dust so that they could make the government pay for their medical bills. And Congress is having so much trouble obstructing itself these days, it just might do exactly that. UPDATE: And it has!
“This legislation as written creates a huge $8.4 billion slush fund paid by taxpayers that is open to abuse, fraud and waste,” said Representative Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas
These no-good 9/11-cancer queens think they can just sit around getting cancer from trying to save their fellow citizens’ lives in one of our country’s most trying hours. But if the true heroes, Republican obstructionists like Tom Coburn, have their say, it’s going to be a long time before any of these schemers try to rob the taxpayers with another one of these “rescue people from a collapsing building of fire” frauds again. We’ve wisened up to their little game.
Democrats have been very successful finding agreement with a handful of Republicans in the lame-duck session. That’s easy to do when we’re talking about something bipartisan and universally beloved, like giving free money to the obscenely wealthy in the form of tax cuts. But giving money to pay the medical bills of those living with 9/11 cancer? That’s just too extreme. Especially when that health coverage costs about 1/130 of the tax-cut deal, and is actually all paid for through fees. [NYT]
UPDATE: But it has been passed! How could they? It’s so close to Christmas. Show a little compassion, Congress, for the national debt.