1st Responders Press Senate Over 9/11 Health Bill

NEW YORK (CBS 2/ WCBS 880/1010 WINS) — First responders who became sick after working at Ground Zero following the World Trade Center terror attacks went to Washington Tuesday, hoping the trip would be the last one they needed to make.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with Rudy Giuliani

Supporters were optimistic the Senate would approve a scaled-back version of the measure before the lame duck session ends, Jay Dow reported.

A newly revised version of the bill cuts costs by a billion dollars, essentially self-funds the program, and in doing so answers many of the objections raised by Republicans who stood opposed to it.

Funding for the 10-year, $6.2 billion program would be shifted from a corporate tax, to increased excise fees for foreign goods sold to the US government.

“Unlike so many pieces of legislation here in Washington, this bill is fully paid for,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Despite that, CBS News reported that Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, would seek to block passage of the legislation.

Amid other factors, Coburn apparently feels the bill has been rushed through Congress.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also defended Republicans, saying the bill should be done, but in a “fiscally responsible” way.

Speaking with WCBS 880 Tuesday, Sen. Frank Lautenberg criticized the governor’s comments.

“It’s fully paid for, but even to bring that up as the principle issue when we have the humanitarian issue in front of us, I think is desperate political rhetoric,” Lautenberg said, “we shouldn’t be listening to that.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer had a simple plea that he directed at “every Senator and House member.”

“Heed the call. Don’t delay. Pass the bill,” Schumer said.

Gillibrand also addressed the criticism from some Republicans at the news conference.

“Some have said that this bill has been rushed.  Let me assure you, we’ve been working on this bill for nine years.  My predecessor Secretary Hillary Clinton started working on this bill in the Senate in 2006,” she said.

The proposed legislation is named for NYPD James Zadroga, whose supporters said died of respiratory disease contracted during his work at the World Trade Center site.

It would proved free health care and compensation payments to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who fell ill working there.

Zadroga’s father Joseph wasn’t giving up. “I beg the Senate down in Washington, D.C. to see the light, respect the heroes and pass this bill.”


One Comment

  1. Gilbert Lamb says:

    For the estmated $36,000 first respondrs involved, $1,700,000 per person is overkill !!

  2. Andrew Thoone says:

    I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check search online for “Wise Health Insurance” If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

  3. BB says:

    First responders, like soldiers and anyone else in emergency situations, were doing the job they applied for and paid to do. They are entitled to no additional benefits than any other American worker. Be a true citizen and an American without having to be paid for it. theyare paid to have a job, why should theyhave to be paid extra to do it?

    1. Michael H. says:

      What about all the construction workers who went down there to help move the rubble? What about the volunteers handing out supplies?

      Aside from all that, no, cops and firefighters are not expected to breathe pulverized glass, asbestos, etc. This goes above and beyond what these heroes signed up for and we, as a nation, owe it to them to make sure that their 9/11 related health issues are taken care of. These people are dying left and right, well above the normal fatality rate for people in their fields.

  4. DEVOUNG says:

    they could care less, their family or friends were not there, so it won’t pass. their attitude is we take care of our own [ senators and congress people first, the n think about THOSE PEOPLE

  5. life is good says:

    This bill has been in the works for approximately seven years. I’m sure there’s plenty of blame to go around as far as why First Responders have been left to suffer (over 900 first responders have died waiting for the bill thus far) and thousands more became sick during which time both political parties went about the ‘important tasks’ of taking care of their personal special interests ($$$). Now that the Democrats have brought it for a vote, the Republicans are singing the, “Hey it’s the last minute, I didn’t get to read it, I want to go home it’s Christmas” Blues. “Earth to the GOP: You are OUR employees, do your job and pass the 9/11 Health Bill … Peoples’ lives are on the line … There is no leisure period … This is a TRUE EMERGENCY … Pass the 9/11 Health & Compensation Bill NOW!”

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