U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King, authors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, issued the following statements on the revised settlement announced today of thousands of lawsuits filed by workers who participated in rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero:
"The heroes and heroines of 9/11 deserve the maximum settlement possible and this is a step in the right direction," said Rep. Maloney. "I applaud Judge Hellerstein and the attorneys on both sides for going back to the bargaining table to offer more help to those who lost their health because of the attacks on America. However, the 11,000 plaintiffs in this case are only a fraction of the more than 20,000 Americans who have been identified by the federal government as having serious 9/11-related illnesses and injuries. In addition, we don't yet know the full extent of the health problems that will emerge as a result of the attacks, and people are still getting sick. We need to pass the Zadroga Act this year to give all 9/11 responders and survivors of the attacks proper health care and compensation for their economic losses."
"I have worked for years, first to prevent people from getting sick from 9/11, and then to ensure that the sick and injured are properly cared for and compensated to the maximum extent possible. So, I welcome the news today of a new proposed settlement designed to bring millions more to the heroes and victims of 9/11," said Rep. Nadler. "Settlement of these claims is long overdue but, unfortunately, it is not the end of the story. The settlement depends on continued federal funding of health care for the first responders and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. The best way to ensure that funding continues is by passing the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which recently passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is currently awaiting consideration on the House floor. The legislation is designed to help many more people than are currently involved in the pending lawsuits addressed by the proposed settlement, and I have been assured by the City's lawyers that they will continue to push for its passage as well."
"While I applaud all the parties for this positive development, I am still fully committed to working with Reps. Maloney and Nadler on passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847) which will fully address the needs of our first responders and survivors," said Rep. King.
Last month, the House Energy and Commerce panel gave bipartisan support to the Zadroga Act's provisions to expand and make permanent existing federal programs to provide medical monitoring for those exposed to toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, and treatment for 9/11-related illnesses and injuries. Last July, the House Judiciary Committee approved, also with bipartisan support, the bill's provisions to reopen the federal Victim Compensation Fund. Maloney and Nadler are hopeful that the Zadroga Act will be voted on by the full House later this month.