Most House Republicans on Thursday voted against a bill to provide $7.4 billion in aid to 9/11 first responders who became sick after the attacks. They complained that Democrats opted to bypass voting on amendments, opting instead for a process that sped up the vote but required a two-thirds majority.
Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner blew a fuse on the House floor when he heard his GOP colleagues complaining about procedure yesterday. In a dramatic one-and-a-half minute speech, Weiner hollered that Republicans were being cowardly by opposing the bill based on procedure.
The measure failed to get the two-thirds needed to pass: The vote was 255 to 159, and came down largely along party lines.
"It's Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes," Weiner yelled. "It is a shame. A shame! If you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care - then vote no! But don't give me the cowardly view that 'Oh if it was a different procedure'..."
Before Weiner made his remarks on the floor, Republican Rep. Peter King of New York accused Democrats of being too afraid to vote on controversial amendments and instead staging a "charade" by holding the vote.
Weiner contended that Republicans were the ones staging a charade by stalling votes under the false pretense that they could possibly support a bill if it were further amended.
"We see it in the United States Senate every single day, where members say, 'We want amendments, we want debate, we want amendments -- but we're still a No,'" Weiner yelled. "You vote yes if you believe yes... if you believe it's the right thing. If you believe it's the wrong thing, you vote no."More on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act: