So it should come as no surprise that last week, all but 12 House Republicans voted against a measure that would have provided free health care and compensation payments to 9/11 rescue workers suffering from respiratory illnesses due to inhaling dust at Ground Zero.
The cost of the $7.4 billion bill would have been completely covered by closing tax loopholes on foreign subsidiaries that do business in the U.S. Under the bill, multinational corporations incorporated in designated tax haven countries would no longer be able to avoid tax obligations on money made in the U.S.
Republicans referred derisively to the measure as a "slush fund" and a "massive new entitlement program."
"They were there to save survivors, not to raise taxes," Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), doing his best Sylvia Brown impersonation and reading the minds of 9/11 first responders, inexplicably said on the House floor during debate on the bill.
Eager to protect the profits of multinational corporations, many of Brady's colleagues took to the House floor to decry the evils of ending tax evasion.
"This legislation has been paired with a fundamentally flawed and job-destroying tax increase, and therefore I will vote against it, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) said on the House floor.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who infamously defended BP against the federal government creating a $20 billion fund to pay for the Gulf oil spill, portrayed the measure as a huge tax increase on average Americans rather than a tool to collect billions owed to the U.S. Treasury by tax-cheating companies.
"We support it, without raising taxes on the rest of the American people," he said.
Others used the typical Republicans attack, claiming that the measure is just part of a secretive and ominous Democrat plot to grow the size of government and strap today's children with tomorrow's debt by stealing from the pockets of hard-working Americans.
"I think this is another example of the Democrats' insatiable appetite for the taxpayers' hard-earned dollars," Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said on the House floor.
The measure was ultimately failed to pass despite garnering a majority of House members. Fearful of casting tough votes during an election year on unrelated amendments dealing with abortion and illegal immigration, Democrats used suspension rules to block Republicans from offering frivolous amendments. However, that all required to bill to gain a two-thirds majority, or 291 votes. In the end, only 255 lawmakers voted in favor of the measure.
Democrats defended their decision to use suspension rules, claiming it was a common procedure that prevented Republicans from playing politics with a bill that has been nine years in the making.
"It's Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes," Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said during an impassioned floor speech. "It is a shame. A shame! If you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care--then vote no! But don't give me the cowardly view that 'Oh, if it was a different procedure.'"