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H.R. 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act

Jul 23, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the Senate.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1327 (116th) in the Senate.

This bill might not have passed if not for comedian Jon Stewart.

For years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress had not enacted a dedicated funding program for health benefits for 9/11 first responders. The closest it had come was in late 2010, when the House passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act by 268–160 that September. Introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY12), a seeming majority of senators supported it as well.

But the initial Senate cloture vote that December was 57–42, unable to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to overcome a filibuster. Many Senate Republicans opposed the bill by saying that the legislation would raise revenue through increasing excise taxes on certain foreign goods in a way that would violate international treaties of which the U.S. was part.

Then Jon Stewart devoted his entire December 16 episode of The Daily Show to the issue, which many including the White House press secretary credited with turning the tide of public debate. Democratic senators introduced a modified version of the legislation which solved the excise tax issue and passed the Senate by a voice vote, a procedure used for relatively noncontroversial legislation in which no record of individual votes is recorded.

The House passed it on December 22, 2010 by 206–60, with more than one-third of the House not voting. Republicans still largely opposed it by 31–59, with 89 not voting. Democrats almost entirely supported it by 175–1, with 79 not voting. Former Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS4) was the lone voting House Democrat who opposed.

A so-called “permanent” extension funding the healthcare program until 2090 passed the House in 2019 by 402–12, passed the Senate by 97–2, and President Trump signed it into law. Jon Stewart was pleased.

Totals

All Votes R D I
Yea 98%
 
 
 
97
50
 
45
 
2
 
Nay 2%
 
 
 
2
2
 
0
 
0
 
Not Voting
 
 
 
1
1
 
0
 
0
 

Bill Passed. Simple Majority Required. Source: senate.gov.

The Yea votes represented 99% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.

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Study Guide

How well do you understand this vote? Use this study guide to find out.

You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page. For a guide to understanding the bill this vote was about, see here.

What was the procedure for this vote?

  1. What was this vote on?
  2. Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.

    This vote is related to a bill. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what it is about. Congress makes many decisions in the process of passing legislation, such as on the procedures for debating the bill, whether to change the bill before voting on passage, and even whether to vote on passage at all.

    You can learn more about the various motions used in Congress at EveryCRSReport.com. If you aren’t sure what the Senate was voting on, try seeing if it’s on this list.

  3. What is the next step after this vote?
  4. Take a look at where this bill is in the legislative process. What might come next? Keep in mind what this specific vote was on, and the context of the bill. Will there be amendments? Will the other chamber of Congress vote on it, or let it die?

    For this question it may help to briefly examine the bill itself.

What is your analysis of this vote?

  1. What trends do you see in this vote?
  2. Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?

  3. How did your senators vote?
  4. There are two votes here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your senators, which are meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your senators voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?

    If you don’t already know who your Members of Congress are you can find them by entering your address here.

  5. How much of the United States population is represented by the yeas?
  6. GovTrack displays the percentage of the United States population represented by the yeas on some Senate votes just under the vote totals. We do this to highlight how the people of the United States are represented in the Senate. Since each state has two senators, but state populations vary significantly, the individuals living in each state have different Senate representation. For example, California’s population of near 40 million is given the same number of senators as Wyoming’s population of about 600,000.

    Do the senators who voted yea represent a majority of the people of the United States? Does it matter?

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