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9/11 Health Bill is on "fast track" in Senate

According to press releases from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the 9/11 Health Bill will bypass Senate committee hearings and be place on a "fast track":

In late September, the U.S. House of Representatives, with the bipartisan support of 17 Republican Representatives - voted to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The bill was immediately sent to the U.S. Senate, where, at Senator Gillibrand's request, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked Senate Rule 14 Process, which will fast track the bill to floor consideration, bypassing the much longer and uncertain committee consideration process that the vast majority of bills undergo.

Through the fast track process, the legislation will be added to the Senate's vote schedule shortly after the next legislative session resumes, on November 15th. Negotiations on the legislation will begin immediately, making it available for a floor vote at the start of the next Senate work period. While this process does not guarantee passage, it does remove obstacles including the committee process, which could stall the bill for months or it kill it before it is brought to the floor.

This is a well-meaning but bad idea, for reasons I explained in my March 31, 2009 testimony and answers to Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. Though I made several suggestions on how the bill could be improved to avoid what will be inevitable multi-billion-dollar fraud on the taxpayers, they were all ignored in the House. The bill also hurts America's ability to respond to future terrorist attacks by taxing innocent third-party volunteers' liability insurance for the benefit of trial lawyers—thus guaranteeing that any liability insurer worth its salt will refuse to insure contractors and subcontractors who volunteer to help in the aftermath of the next terrorist attack.

As if to demonstrate how the bill will be a huge source of fraud, the bill is named after James Zadroga, who died from injecting prescription drugs, but has somehow become a symbol of Ground Zero workers' health problems. Earlier.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.