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Treating Ground Zero Workers Too Costly

I literally find this difficult to believe:

Republican senators blocked Democratic legislation on Thursday that sought to provide medical care to rescue workers and residents of New York City who became ill as a result of breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke from ground zero....
Republicans have been raising concerns about how to pay for the $7.4 billion measure, while Democrats, led by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, have argued that the nation had a moral obligation to assist those who put their lives at risk during rescue operations at ground zero.

They just demanded hundreds of billions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts! I realize that GOP dogma holds that tax rates have nothing at all to do with deficits. Still, you'd think that sheer political expedience would make them cooperate on health benefits for Ground Zero rescue workers.

It's as if Democrats sat around dreaming up an issue that would make the Republicans look as bad as possible:

"What if Republicans supported a bill to seize puppies from poor children and turn them into pate to be served at a yacht reception for tobacco lobbyists?"

"No, too maudlin. What if we tried to introduce a foreign policy element -- like, Republicans enacted a tax break for the bin Laden family..."

I could see a conversation like that leading to the Republican Ground Zero health care position. I can't see it as the result of any conversation that had any political operatives or non-sociopaths in the room.