IN SUPPORT OF THE JAMES ZADROGA 9/11 HEALTH AND COMPENSATION ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - December 19, 2007)
HON. STEVEN R. ROTHMAN
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2007
* Mr. ROTHMAN. Madam Speaker, our Nation owes a debt of gratitude to those who selflessly rushed to Ground Zero to help their fellow citizens during and immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. These courageous American men and women thought of others first and themselves second. Truthfully, if it were not for the firefighters, rescue workers, emergency medical providers, and volunteers who helped in the days following 9/11, then the death toll may have been even higher. The healing process would have been even slower. And the cleanup would have taken even longer.
* Today, however, many of these rescue workers and volunteers suffer severe respiratory illnesses and diseases as a result of their exposure to toxic debris and materials at Ground Zero. To add insult to injury, the Bush administration has failed to provide them with adequate health care and, in some cases, actually challenged the cause of their illnesses, which doctor after doctor has diagnosed as stemming from the poisonous air at Ground Zero.
* Our Nation can and must do far better by our heroes. That is why I strongly support and have cosponsored the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. This legislation would establish a World Trade Center Health program to provide medical monitoring, treatment, and compensation to emergency responders, recovery and cleanup workers, and other Ground Zero workers suffering serious diseases as a result of their efforts. It would also expand the number of individuals who are to be covered by such arrangements and creates a nationwide network of health care providers for treating victims residing outside the New York City area.
* The American people understand that we have a duty to support our heroes--from those who saved lives in the aftermath of 9/11 to all of our service men and women returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's sad that we need legislation to force the Bush administration to do right by our heroes--but such is the situation we face. Thus, I will continue to fight for passage of the James Zadroga Act, will continue to seek increased funding to treat veterans and troops with post-traumatic stress disorder, severe brain injury, and other needs, and will work hard to elect a new President of the United States who will do more than pay lip service to the needs of our heroes.
* Finally, I wish to applaud the good people at the Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes organization. While they never asked for anybody's praise, they have earned it--not only through their actions on 9/11, but also through their tireless advocacy on behalf of all those struggling with serious health problems caused by 9/11 and through their assistance to sick and injured 9/11 responders.