It was kind of a big deal.
The bill is officially known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 and is named after a first responder who died from a respiratory disease attributed to his rescue efforts on the morning of the Sept. 11 terror attack. The bill easily passed the House in September with a rare bout of bipartisan support. The bill's backers expected passage in the Senate, as well.
But yesterday, every Republican senator voted against the bill. The action was part of the GOP's obstructionist strategy of not allowing any senate action to proceed until the chamber votes on a bill that will continue to Bush era tax cuts, including those for the very wealthy.
The fact that the 9/-11-related legislation was defeated was news. Period. The fact that it was defeated as part of the larger Republican strategy to tie the Senate in knots made yesterday's vote even more newsworthy.
But not at ABC, CBS or NBC. Last night, all three evening newscasts failed to report on the fact that Republicans had voted down a previously bipartisan bill designed to provide medical coverage for Sept. 11 emergency workers. At the major networks, that development was not considered newsworthy.
That's pretty remarkable. But the larger point here is that Republicans are now practicing an unprecedented brand of obstructionism and they're doing without having to pay much of a political price. Why? Because the press is giving them a pass. The press is pretending what Republicans are doing is normal and everyday. It's not. It's radical.
UPDATED: Guess which show last night did cover the fact that Republicans voted down the 9/11 first responders bill? The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.