Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is holding a news conference today to talk about her plan to push H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, through the Senate. By a vote of 268-160, the House last week passed the bill to reopen the 9/11 Compensation Fund. From her media advisory:
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Senate's chief sponsor of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, will work to bypass the Committee process and provide an opportunity for a full Senate vote when the Senate reconvenes next month. Nearly 16,000 responders and 2,700 community members are currently sick and receiving treatment. More than 40,000 responders are in medical monitoring and 71,000 individuals are enrolled in the WTC Health Registry.
On Monday, Senator Gillibrand will visit Long Island World Trade Center Program, a health care facility that provides assistance to many of the first responders and survivors who would directly benefit from passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Senator Gillibrand will discuss her latest strategy to ensure this legislation receives the bipartisan support that will be needed to ensure the bill becomes a law.
Gillibrand's bill is S. 1334, on which a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing was held last June. That bill now differs substantially from the House version that passed (with the Obama Administration's full support). The New York Daily News report, "Senate Democrats put Zadroga 9/11 health bill on fast track," notes the opposition to the bill from business groups, which criticize the bill's tax increase on foreign companies operating in the United States.
In last week's House debate, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) include letters of opposition from the Organization For International Investment, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Foreign Trade Council in The Congressional Record.
Seems like it would be a good idea -- at least in terms of accountability and representative government -- to hold a Senate hearing to further explore the tax increases as well as questions about funds going not to patients and medical care, but rather to trial lawyers.