On the heels of passage of Obama's $37 Billion war supplemental for escalation of the War in Afghanistan, the House of Representatives on Sunday defeated legislation that would have provided $11.5 billion in health care benefits over ten years for 9/11 first responders sickened at Ground Zero. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, H. R. 847, failed to get the 2/3rds number of votes needed for passage. The final vote was 255 yea and 159 nay.
A 2/3rds majority was needed for passage because of a decision by Democrats to suspend the rules to limit amendments and to limit time for debate. As the final vote indicates, the James Zadroga Bill, named for a first responder who died in 2006 of respiratory illness, could easily have passed on a straight up or down vote.
Indiana's delegation voted along party lines with all Democrats voting for and all Republicans against. This mirrored the overall vote in which only 12 Republicans voted for the measure while only 4 Democrats voted against. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll491.xml
On Sunday, first responders held a rally protesting the decision. John Feal, a first responder injured at ground zero, accused both sides in Congress for their inaction. First Responders plan to hold another rally in Washington D.C. when Congress returns from its Summer Vacation.