Reporters should ask Coffman why he thinks the 9-11 compensation law was “vote buying”

Yesterday I suggested in a blog post that reporters should look again at Rep. Mike Coffman’s reasons for opposing the repeal of the military’s Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy, in light of extreme statements Coffman made on the radio.

On the same radio program, KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show Dec 21, 2009, Coffman expanded on his reasons for voting against the so-called 9/11 compensation bill, which became law nonetheless and set up a health fund for ground zero workers.

At the time, Coffman made no secret of his opposition to the bill, saying it was unnecessary and expensive.

But on the radio, talking with Bob Beauprez, Coffman went further, saying the bill was being used for “vote buying” in New York.

Coffman [at 26:10 in the recording]: This is really just about money for New York City. It’s not about, really I think, helping the first responders because we have already done that.

Beauprez: It is a very difficult vote to be no on though, isn’t it?

Coffman: Oh it’s hard. Politically it’s tough. And they know it. And that’s why this is really the [inaudible]. This bill is so vital to them politically. Because it’s obviously vote buying in New York City. But more importantly, I think…nobody mentions, not even the mainstream media, that we have already done this.

Beauprez: No, I’ve been watching a lot of reports and waiting for somebody to bring it up. And I see absolutely nothing. Where are you going to be on the vote if you have to take one?

Coffman: I’m voting against it. I voted against it the first time and I’ll vote against it this time…. But this is really expanding this to create a long-term entitlement program. A multi-billion dollar program. And I think it’s wrong. It’s open ended.

Coffman is in a competitive race now, and reporters should ask him about this, since Beauprez obviously didn’t bother to educate himself on the issue before interviewing Coffman. If he had, he’d surely have seen that Coffman’s view that the bill was unnecessary was widely reported, and, still, the bill cleared the House and Senate overwhelmingly.

But Coffman’s other position, as serious accusation, that the bill was “vote buying” for New York, wasn’t reported, per se, and reporters should ask Coffman about it.

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