President Meets With Son Of 9/11 First Responder

President Meets With Son Of 9/11 First Responder

January 31, 2007

While in town to deliver a speech on the economy, President Bush held a private meeting with Ceasar Borja, Jr., the son of a 9/11 first responder who died last week waiting for a lung transplant.

Bush met with Borja Jr., who has been on a crusade in his father's name to get funding for other first responders who have become ill.

Cesar Borja, Sr. was an NYPD officer who spent countless hours at the World Trade Center site in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

During the meeting Borja, Jr. said he asked for the federal government to completely fund any medical treatment for anyone suffering for a 9/11 related illness.

"I expressed how the funding should be expanded, not just for the heroes and heroines that were present there without hesitation, who ran to save, rescue, and ensure a future for all of the lives that they found there."

When asked how his father would react to his advocacy, Borja said, "honestly, [he would] not even say anything. He would just pat me on the back once; if I am lucky, twice. Smile at me. Give me one of those manly, hero head nods like this, and that's it. And I would love it."

Borja, Jr., who brought his mother and siblings to the meeting with the president, also credited the residents and merchants of Lower Manhattan for their speedy recovery of the WTC area.

Borja's story first rose to the national spotlight when Senator Hillary Clinton invited him to attend the President's State of the Union address to highlight his father's plight.

The Senator then sent a letter to the President urging him to meet with Borja.

"I am very pleased that the president's trip to New York coincided with the opportunity for Ceasar and his family to meet with him," said Clinton. "And yesterday I received word that the president is going to put $25 million in the budget starting in '08. So it wouldn't be available, even if we got it through, until next October 1st, but at least we are getting the recognition."

Senator Clinton's entire interview can be seen tonight on Inside City Hall at 7 p.m. and again at 10 p.m.

On Tuesday, the White House said that it will budget $25 million to help ailing 9/11 workers. The money is being set aside for programs at Mount Sinai Medical Center and for New York City firefighters.

Doctors at Mount Sinai hospital say out of the 19,000 workers they've screened, seven out of every 10 have suffered lung problems.

"There is finally an acknowledgement at the federal level that there is a federal responsibility to help those men and women who responded so heroically and volunteered their services after 9/11," said Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella.

Critics at a rally by the WTC site today say $25 million is hardly enough to treat the looming health care problems.

The White House calls the money a starting point and says it will consider more funding in the future.

Meanwhile, the president gave a State of the Economy speech before a crowd of business and political leaders at Federal Hall this morning. During the address he was very optimistic about the economy. Introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bush applauded the city’s recovery after 9/11. He called on Congress to keep taxes low and invest in alternative fuel sources.

Bush also took on the huge salaries and bonuses that some corporate executives received and the outrage that followed. The president said those pay packages should be made public.

“Government should not decide the compensation for America’s corporate executives,” said Bush. “But the salaries and bonuses of CEOs should be based on their success on approving their companies and bringing value to their shareholders.”

The president also revealed that he is allocating $2 billion in his budget to help construct the JFK Lower Manhattan Rail Link something that both city and state officials have been lobbying for quite some time.

There was a...

Rally today.

"We've been offered a unique opportunity and we must not let this moment pass."

— George W. Bush - State Of The Union Address - January 29th, 2002

"The White House calls the

"The White House calls the money a starting point and says it will consider more funding in the future."

In the future. You know, right about the time the rest have dropped dead. >:(

Impeachment. Accountability. A better world.