NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880/1010 WINS) — Mayor Bloomberg and supporters of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act were in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to push for the bill’s passage before Congress changes hands in January.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell with Rep. Peter King (R-New York) on bipartisan support
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports on time running out
Bloomberg, along with the New York and New Jersey Congressional delegation, sought some one-on-one face time with key Republican senators before a more conservative Senate body arrives in January.
“Obviously, we would target those who have expressed some interest in the past on the topic,” Bloomberg said.
Also taking place on Tuesday was the funeral of NYPD Officer David Mahmoud in Patchogue.
Mahmoud, who was 49, died of a rare cancer that disfigured his nose and face. He spent more than 60 hours at Ground Zero.
Mahmoud’s brother Hashem told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria the Zadroga bill should be passed by the Senate to show respect to those who made sacrifices for everyone else.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria speaks with Mahmoud’s brother
“There was a lot of officers — he’s not the only one. There is thousands of them who have been hurt. There is a lot of families. They did well, they served well, they should be looked after,” he said.
PBA President Patrick Lynch attended the funeral instead of lobbying for the bill in Washington. He said it wasn’t about economics, but rather about right and wrong.
“The young man that joined this police department withered away and died because he was willing to put his life on the line and respond on September 11th and not leave until our job was done,” Lynch said.
The mayor was to meet with Republican senator-elect Mark Kirk of Illinois, who was elected to the seat vacated by then-Senator Obama, and voted twice for the bill as a congressman.
He will also meet with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who was elected to the seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy.
“This is what’s right to do for the people who came to our defense,” Bloomberg said.
The bill passed the House in September, largely along party lines. “This is another example of Congress’ insatiable appetite for the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars,” said Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
The legislation is named for James Zadroga, the New York City detective who supporters said died from respiratory disease contracted at the World Trade Center site. It would provide free health care and compensation payments to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who fell ill working in the Trade Center ruins.
“It’s huge. We’ve been needing this health care for a long time. It’s been a long time coming,” one responder said.