Senators Spar Over Zadroga Bill; Gillibrand Hopeful

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An outraged Senator Charles Schumer went head to head with Arizona Senator John McCain Friday over comments he made about the stalled 9/11 healthcare bill.

It all started when McCain, upset over a time limit on debate regarding the START missile treaty with Russia, took to the Senate floor and questioned the limit in comparison to the “fooling around” on the DREAM Act and “on New York City.”

McCain’s apparent reference to the The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act got Schumer’s attention.

“When the Senator from New York, Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand and myself and so many others are pushing hard for the Zadroga Bill, we are not fooling around. We are fulfilling our duty,” Schumer said.

The bill is named after a New York City police officer, who died of respiratory disease attributed to his exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

It would provide billions to monitor and treat those first responders who are still struggling with illnesses and injuries from their service on September 11.

McCain said his remarks about the bill were misinterpreted and said he was simply talking about the time being taken up in debate.

“For the senator from New York to somehow interpret that as [being critical] of the bill itself of course is an incredible stretch of the imagination, and…I resent it,” McCain said.

Meanwhile, on Good Morning America Saturday, Sen. Gillibrand said she was hopeful the bill would still pass during the current session.

“I don’t think the bill is in trouble. I think this bill is going to be the Christmas miracle of this session,” Gillibrand said.

  • The.Truth

    This site is surpressing my messages. Evil GOP at work. A byproduct from chicken Bush and Cheney. Palin always hooking for money! Give these people help already!

  • DorothyH

    How much lower can the republicans go! To filibuster this bill is outrageous. The so-called party of “family values”, you know, the compassionate conservatives, are morally bankrupt. So many of them like to flaunt that they are Christians. They are all about themselves – me, me, me, me. They care little about anyone else. When are the conservatives who vote for these people going to wake up and see them for what they actually are.

  • life is good

    While thousands of 9/11 first responders are sick and many more are dying due to their exposure to the toxic environment caused by the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, members of the Senate have spent many hours of valuable time biding tearful farewells to their colleagues who are not returning to office next term (I know this because I sit watching them on CSPAN while coughing and trying to breath). At least they are fairly certain that they will still be alive next year; many of us may not be so lucky! We need the help that is waiting (stalled) in the 9/11 Health (Zadroga) Bill. When our country was attacked, we reacted IMMEDIATELY, running toward the danger to help those in dire need. Politicians have had over nine years to react and still haven’t helped us.

  • Mike

    As a 9/11 first responder, I am begging to wish my name was Joe and I was a plumber. McCain promised to take care of all the “Joe the plumbers” in this country, yet attempts to discuss healthcare for 9/11 first responders is “fooling around”. This bill shouldn’t have sides, it should have 100% support from all politicians.

  • Parcel Mokska

    This is not a political issue, but rather a moral obligation. The Zadroga bill is perhaps one of the only issues that the entire American population can stand united behind, but of course, the Senate has turned it into its latest political football. If we can’t assist these brave men and women in any way possible, then we have no right to depend on their bravery in the future.

  • RobK

    It’s not about party and as a New Yorker, I really like our Senate representation who are two out of maybe a half dozen cerebrally intact people in the Senate. McCain for his part is like the uncle you fear for going out by himself – he’s not sure what he’s saying when he’s saying it and it shows more and more lately. I came 50/50 close to voting for him as POTUS until his campaign went for Palin and insisted the fundamentals of the economy were strong in 2008… clueless back-tracking old man. While I applaud his military service, I’d wish he would retire.already. All that said – we need to man-up and pass this legislation sooner than later (it’s been almost 10 years)

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