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In a highly dismaying turn of events, Senate Republicans have voted to prevent open debate on a bill that would give medical benefits and compensation to our nation’s first responders on September 11, 2001.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill, named after a NYPD detective who died after exposure to toxic fumes at Ground Zero, would have provided much-needed free health coverage to emergency workers who are suffering from health problems in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

But according to the Republicans, the health of these national heroes is just not worth the cost of the bill: $7.4 billion.

While $7.4 billion might sound high, let’s not forget that right now, these same Republicans are also pushing to extend the Bush tax cuts, a move that will cost the country an estimated $860 billion. Most of these tax cuts, of course, will not benefit average Americans, but will give millionaires and mega-businesses extra money that they don’t really need.

It’s incredible that the Republicans have convinced a significant portion of the country that they’re out to protect the interests of the average American, when their real interests lie in the pockets of mega businesses like insurance companies, banks, drug companies, and the tobacco industry. Their blatant disregard of our national heroes is tragic. We need to stop rewarding this attitude and get these people out of office.

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