When does the Republican party abandon 9/11? When it's time to provide $7.4 billion in medical treatment and compensation to first responders and residents sickened by the toxic dust after the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center. Yesterday, the House's 255-159 vote (243 Democrats and 12 Republicans supported the measure; 155 Republicans and 4 Democrats voted nay) fell short of the majority needed to pass the long-debated James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009. Republicans called it a "slush fund" and an "entitlement program." Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) slammed the partisanship in this rousing (and LOUD) speech.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) claimed the Democrats were taking "cover" by asking for the high majority. The NY Times explains, "Democrats used rules requiring a wider majority for approval to prevent Republicans from offering amendments on the floor that would embarrass Democrats in an election year"—amendments like denying illegal immigrants sickened during 9/11 benefits—"Republican opponents of the legislation expressed concern over the $7.4 billion cost of the program. But Democrats accused Republicans of being callous and vowed to bring the bill back for another vote in the fall."

Weiner, in response to King, yelled, "The gentleman is wrong! The gentleman is providing cover for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing! It's Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes!"

Here's the breakdown of where the money would go, via the Daily News: "The bill would spend $3.2 billion on health care over the next 10 years for people sickened from their exposure to the toxic smoke and debris of the shattered World Trade Center. It would spend another $4.2 billion to compensate victims over that span, and make another $4.2 billion in compensation available for the next 11 years." Rep. John Shimus (R-Illinois) said it was wasteful because it pays at a higher rate than Medicare, "What this is is enfranchising a bunch of New York City hospitals." Wait, isn't Medicare socialist?

Mayor Bloomberg said, "It was wrong for the overwhelming majority of Republicans to vote against the bill. and it was wrong for Democrats to bring the bill to the floor under rules that made passage so much more difficult." However, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), one of the sponsors, tried to remain upbeat; in a statement, she said, "Today’s vote showed that we have the support we need to pass the Zadroga Act, and we look forward to passing the bill with a simple majority when Congress returns from its August recess. We thank our colleagues in the New York delegation for their dedication to those who were harmed by the terrorist attacks on our nation. We will not rest until we finally provide proper care for ailing 9/11 responders and survivors, and fill the last remaining gap in America’s recovery from the attacks. Nine long years after the attacks, the living victims of 9/11 are still suffering. We must pass this bill. It is the least we can do as a grateful nation."