Republican amendments are holding up Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund renewal
WASHINGTON -- A measure to permanently fund Sept. 11 compensation faces just two last hurdles -- a pair of amendments by renegade conservative Republicans Sen. Mike Lee and Rand Paul that would either cap payouts or threaten passage altogether.
The amendment by Paul, of Kentucky, who blocked passage of the bill by unanimous consent last week, would offset the costs of compensation by cutting other programs, including Medicaid.
Multiple sources told the New York Daily News it is unlikely to pass, but if it did, would jeopardize the larger legislation because it would pit responders against other Americans in need.
Democrats would be adamantly opposed to such cuts, according to a memo by Senate budget staffers that the Daily News obtained.
"There is no reason why Medicaid, for instance, must be cut in order to fund (compensation) programs for 9/11 first responders," the memo says. And it adds that the idea of offsetting the costs of helping 9/11 victims while "the nearly $2 trillion cost of the GOP's 2017 tax cuts may simply add to the deficit is wholly indefensible."
Paul's would cut $2 billion a year from elsewhere in the budget for five years to make up for the Congressional Budget Office's cost estimate of $10.180 billion for the bill over its first 10 years.
Lee, of Utah, has a better chance of passing his amendment, and it probably would not kill the bill -- but it would cap the first 10 years of the program at the CBO estimate, with just $10 billion more to last until 2092.
--New York Daily News
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