Congress 2011-2012: The New Ground Zero

By Richard Thayer

Recent actions taken by the lame ducks in Congress are a foreshadowing of things to come in the next two years. Buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

The most recent indicator of things to come came this past week when Republicans in the Senate voted to prevent the 9/11 First Responders Bill from getting an up-or-down vote. The bill would have provided lifelong medical care to those brave men and women who risked their lives and health to search for survivors and recover the dead at Ground Zero. Republicans voted thumbs down on the bill. The reason: Our nation’s heroes weren’t worth the $7.4 billion that it would cost taxpayers.

In commenting on the vote by Senate Republicans Dave Coker, a Greensboro firefighter and vice president of Local 947 said of Senator Richard Burr, “(He) demonstrated, along with every other Republican senator, that stopping a 3 percent tax increase on the top 2 percent of our wealthiest Americans is more important than providing 9/11 responders with a health care bill.”

Earlier the National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in which federal civil service employees and retirees were targeted for reductions in their pay and benefits. The package calls for the creation of a “Federal Workforce Entitlement Task Force” to make recommendations to Congress to cut federal civilian and military retirement benefits by $70 billion over the next decade.

As part of the government’s “fiscal responsibility and reform” witch hunt, President Obama called for —  and the House passed — a two year pay freeze for all federal employees saying that, “The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require broad sacrifice.” I guess he means broad sacrifice among active and retired federal workers.

Look for federal workers, retirees and and federal programs to be the targets of additional cuts between now and the 2012 elections.

If you would like to contact Senator Richard Burr click here.

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