Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) has been excoriated by New York City-area members of Congress for preventing passage of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Today's New York Daily News -- which has been campaigning for the bill in its news and editorial pages -- gives Enzi space to defend his arguments in a column, "Why I'm against the Zadroga 9/11 health bill: Sen. Mike Enzi explains his concerns with legislation. Excerpt:
There are serious concerns about the existing programs to help 9/11 first responders, and it is not clear that this bill fixes current problems.
Congress has funded numerous programs to provide care and compensation to 9/11 victims, spending several billion dollars on extraordinary and unprecedented efforts. Congress will continue to support these individuals. However, current program administrators have failed to account for much of the previously allocated money.
Before we create a new program, we need the basic facts about what worked and what did not work over the past nine years.
For example, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has sent $475 million in grants to NY-area health care providers but "have failed to tell Congress where that money has gone," Enzi argues. He also raises procedural objections, noting the Senate committees of jurisdiction have not voted on the legislation.
In response, the Daily News editorialists just ratchet up the invective: "It's hard to say which of the ideas expressed on the opposite page by Republican Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi are the most offensive and the most deceitful."