Sunday, December 19, 2010

9/11 Heroes Health Care Bill Rises Again

This is sort of a surprise. It seems the 9/11 Heroes Health Care Bill isn't quite dead yet. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced yesterday that the Senate is likely to pass it after all, now that they cut a new deal with the GOP on the funding. As ABC reports:

"They would like to vote for a stand-alone bill," she said. "There is general agreement on a new pay-for that we're going to offer, so the hope is to get to the bill as soon as the START bill is completed."

"I support the 9/11 health bill on the merits, and I have talked with Senator Gillibrand about the need for legitimate ways of offsetting its cost," Collins said in a statement on Thursday. "If the Majority Leader were to bring the bill to the floor with appropriate offsets, I would support the legislation."

The off-set in the House-passed measure would close tax loopholes for foreign companies, a move that Collins has objected to on the grounds that it would violate international tax treaties.
Of course, ABC adds no context, like a quote from an expert in tax law, indicating whether Collins is correct in that assessment. But here's the new trade-off.
Today Gillibrand said that the new off-set would be a 2 percent fee on procurement contracts for certain countries, combined with a visa fee.
No word on which "certain countries" would be subject to the fee and one suspects yet another visa fee will only hurt the US tourist more than less.

As I said in my previous post, there's no constituency the GOP won't sell out to protect multinational corporate welfare. And apparently, the Dems have no problem helping them do it. But at least the rescuers at Ground Zero will get the help they deserve, so there's that...

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