House Passes James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

September 29, 2010, 3:46 pm

House Passes 9/11 Health Care Bill


The House on Wednesday approved legislation to provide billions of dollars for medical treatment to rescue workers and residents of New York City who suffered illnesses from breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke at ground zero.

The vote was 268 to 160, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats in support of the bill. Republicans raised concerns about the $7.4 billion cost of the program.

The bill’s fate is unclear in the Senate. Republicans have enough votes to filibuster the measure, and Senate Democrats have not shown great interest in bringing the measure to the floor.

The bill aroused impassioned debate, as 9/11 responders and their relatives watched from the House gallery.

The vote occurred as Congress moved to finish its legislative business quickly and adjourn this week to allow lawmakers to head back home to campaign before the Nov. 2 elections.

The bill calls for providing $3.2 billion over the next eight years to monitor and treat injuries stemming from exposure to toxic dust and debris at ground zero. New York City would pay 10 percent of those health costs. The bill seeks to set aside $4.2 billion to reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to provide compensation for any job and economic losses.

In addition, the bill includes a provision that would have allowed money from the Victim Compensation Fund to be paid out to anyone who receives payment under the pending settlement stemming from lawsuits that 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers filed against the city. At the moment, anyone who receives a settlement from the city is limited in how much compensation they can receive from the fund, according to the bill’s sponsors.

Until now, Congress has appropriated money on an annual basis to monitor the health of people injured at ground zero and to provide them with medical treatment.

There are nearly 60,000 people enrolled in a variety of health monitoring and treatment programs related to the 9/11 attacks, according to the sponsors of the bill. The federal government provides the bulk of the money for those health programs.

The bill’s supporters have been demanding that the government institute a more permanent health program for 9/11 responders, fearful that annual appropriations are subject to the political whims of Congress and the White House.

But such a program has been opposed by many Republicans, who raised concerns about creating a new federal entitlement to provide health benefits at a time when the federal government is running a huge budget deficit

On the floor, Representative Joe L. Barton, a Republican from Texas, who opposed the bill, argued that it was unnecessary given the fact that Congress had created programs like the Victim Compensation Fund.

After noting that the compensation fund had made billions of dollars in payouts, Mr. Barton said the bill would add the burden of a new entitlement program on taxpayers. “We want to help the victims,” he said.

But the bill’s supporters argued that the nation had a moral obligation to help workers who risked their lives to respond to the crisis at ground zero.

“The 9/11 responders have received a lot of awards and praise, but they tell me that what they really need is health care,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat from New York who was one of the bill’s chief sponsors.

Known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the bill bears the name of a New York City detective who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero for about three weeks after the Sept. 11 attack.

He in died in January 2006 after he developed symptoms common to first responders, including difficulty breathing and flulike symptoms. But the cause of his death became the source of debate after the city’s medical examiner concluded that his death was not directly related to the 9/11 attacks.

Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, who described the bill as an ”irresponsible overreach,” seized on the controversy surrounding Mr. Zadroga’s death, saying: “This bill is deceptive, starting with its title.”

The vote on Wednesday was the second time this year that the House took up the 9/11 health bill.

In July, Democratic leaders brought the bill to the floor under special rules requiring a two-thirds majority to pass it. A majority of the lawmakers in the chamber supported the bill, but the vote in July fell short of the two-thirds margin needed.

At the time, Democrats were concerned that a vote under normal rules requiring a simple majority would have allowed Republicans to propose a controversial amendment that sought to deny 9/11 health benefits to illegal immigrants.

The amendment would probably have divided Democratic support for the original health bill into two camps: moderates who might feel political pressure to deprive illegal immigrants of such benefits and liberals who flatly oppose the Republican amendment. 

More coverage...

House passes 9/11 health bill: $7.4 billion bill to provide health services to 9/11 responders clears House.


The first responders who are still suffering will finally get the health coverage they deserve. Amen.

With all of the recent developments regarding 9/11 and the resounding negative response to their previous bogus vote. it's obvious that Congress is running scared. They probably think this will absolve them from dealing with the other equally serious issues surrounding 9/11. Sorry. Time to crank it up a notch and make them fully accountable.

A small price to pay. Amerika has other priorities:

The following chart shows the breakdown of the proposed federal discretionary budget for fiscal year 2011 by function area.

The discretionary budget refers to the part of the federal budget proposed by the President, and debated and decided by Congress each year. The part of the budget constitutes more than one-third of total federal spending. The remainder of the federal budget is called 'mandatory spending.' Fiscal Year 2009 will run from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009.

Note that this chart includes the war-related spending requested by the administration as supplemental to the regular budget proposal.

Unemployment Rates by County 2007 to Present


Check out Get some of their cards, send them in, pass them around, include them with your 9/11 truth for peace info.

I'd like to thank Jon Stewart

This is such a powerful issue in America. These first responders are our heroes, even by the official story, and the initial congressional response was so appalling.

from August 5th, 2010:
(10 1/2 minutes)

Now, if someone can figure out a way as truthers to gain an alliance with Stewart on who the suspects are, perhaps we, the American colonists, can gain in our struggles against the oppressive British King, the assistance of France (the Daily Show) in our fight.

The FBI states they have no evidence linking OBL or al qaeda to 911. Lots of good facts on this here.... And Dick Cheney said it on TV in 2006. Try quoting Cheney to your buddies some time (and it won't come back on you)