WASHINGTON -- Two of House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) newly empowered committee chairmen took immediate advantage Thursday of the freshly elected leader's pledge to give power back to committees -- and may have handed him a 9/11-related publicity disaster.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the head of the Energy and Commerce Committee, both announced measures to temporarily extend the expiring 9/11 health and compensation programs.
For the first time, WTC rescue heroes diagnosed with cancer will be able to collect benefits from the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). On Wednesday, the World Trade Center Scientific Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) voted to recommend a list of different cancers to be added under the Zadroga Act.
By Susan Edelman - New York Post - March 11th, 2012
The law firm that reaped more than $200 million in fees and expenses in the city’s court settlement with 10,000 Ground Zero workers now says it won’t represent those filing compensation claims under the federal Zadroga Act because rules forbid them to further bill the same clients, The Post has learned.
“By preventing us to be paid for our overhead and services, it essentially precludes us from representing the interests of our litigation clients” in the new Victim Compensation Fund, says a letter from Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern.
John Feal, an advocate for 9/11 responders, called it “disturbing and appalling” that the firm had repeatedly led clients to believe it would represent them.
“This firm made over $200 million from the mass tort — you would think there would be a moral obligation to represent those sick and dying under Zadroga pro bono,” he said.
Nothing in the Zadroga law prevents the firm from keeping the clients. But lawyers who already collected a 25 percent fee in the $680 million city settlement cannot charge the same clients any more. Other lawyers can charge a 10 percent fee.
ABC NEWS -- New York City's police union is demanding more information about the effects of toxic debris from the 9/11 attacks.
The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association called on the city to release all data about officers who suffered cancer after responding at the World Trade Center at a news conference on Sunday.
The union also showed the uniform worn that day by Officer Alonzo Harris.
It was tested and found to have dangerous carcinogens on it.
The P.B.A. says the city has dragged its feet on providing information about first responders.
"It's unconscionable that they would not release this data. This is an issue of men and women who serve this city without question and they're looking for one thing, they're looking for the treatment that they deserve," P.B.A. President Patrick Lynch said.
The union wants cancer included on the list of illnesses covered by the Zadroga Act, to help first responders.