Last night in the House, a bill to provide $7.4 billion in funding over 10 years to those whose health was affected by the World Trade Center attack got 255 votes--well above a simple majority. But the bill failed because Democrats suspended the rules, which denied the Republicans the chance to offer any amendments and required a 2/3 majority to pass. According to Hill sources, Democrats suspended the rules because they were afraid that Republicans would offer a motion to recommit--the one amendment allotted to the minority party by the rules--to pay for the bill using money from Obamacare or the stimulus or an amendment to deny funds to illegal immigrants.
This Fox News clip recaps the heated debate between Rep. Peter King (R, NY) and an enraged Rep. Anthony Weiner (D, NY) on the House floor last night. Both congressmen voted for the bill, but King said it was "cruel hoax" by Democrats to bring up the bill on a 2/3 vote when they knew it couldn't pass. On Fox this morning, King and Weiner had another testy exchange about the bill.
Democrats have taken politically toxic votes on a number of motions to recommit (such as an amendment to block abortion funding in Obamacare). Why they are not willing to do so on this bill suggests that this bill is not as important to Democrats as the others passed and that they took the vote so they can hammer Republicans on it in the November election.
Three government programs already exist to provide care for 9/11 responders, but this bill would have expanded the number of people who could get care. The House Republican caucus lays out facts about the bill and objections to it here.