US to levy tax to give free care to 9/11 responders, survivors

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill -- the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after named after a deceased New York Police Department detective -- will cost USD 7.4 billion over the next decade.

The plan is to cover those costs by levying a tax on businesses that are headquartered overseas. A number of Republicans said the tax hike would cause Americans who work for foreign countries to lose their jobs, but Democrats support the bill, who argue that the it is fully paid for by a provision preventing foreign multinational firms that are incorporated in tax haven countries from avoiding tax on income earned in the United States.

The legislation was approved by a 268-160 vote. "It is paid for by cracking down on foreign tax haven corporations that are taking advantage of the US tax treaty network in order to dodge American taxes," Congressman Chris Van Hollen said, after the passage of the bill.

According to the bill the expenses on the free health care treatment are fully offset by tweaking tax law to end certain breaks for foreign-based corporate subsidiaries operating in the US.

It was not clear immediately, the kind of impact the bill would have on Indian companies that are having operations in the US. The US, in the recent years, has emerged as one of the major investment destination for Indian companies. The full paid-for bill comes in the wake of controversial Border protection bill passed by US Congress and then signed into law by US President Barack Obama early this year which funds the enhanced security measures on US-Mexico bill by raising the fee of certain categories of H-1B and L1 visas, which have been termed discriminatory by Indian companies.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act now has to be considered by the Senate, which is expected to come up in a lame-duck session at the end of the year. US President Obama has said he would sign the bill as the White House released a statement yesterday in the support of the bill.

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