9/11 Health Bill Could Stall Over Treatments for Illegal Immigrants

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

House leaders may cancel today’s vote on a 9/11 health care bill to prevent a Republican-led effort to block treatment for illegal immigrants who worked at Ground Zero, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The $7.4 billion legislation for Ground Zero workers has come up against opposition before — remember Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) rant in July? — but is important to providing treatment for thousands of workers who became sick after working in the debris.

The previous fight over the bill was over whether amendments should be offered, leading Republicans to vote down efforts to move forward with the bill. This time, some seem more likely to support it, but they may try to include an amendment to ban benefits from going to illegal immigrants who worked at Ground Zero.

The Wall Street Journal does not exactly promise Republican action — “it’s not clear that they will do so tomorrow,” they write — but the possibility has some Democrats worried anyway. Unnamed moderate Democrats facing tough elections in November reportedly have told Democratic leaders they want to avoid voting on such an amendment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office declined to comment to the Journal on whether she would pull the bill off the floor if an amendment blocking illegal immigrants is offered.

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