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James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, everyone here is concerned about helping people who are suffering, including New York firefighters and policemen and emergency rescue workers and others affected by this, but I want to point out what Ken Feinberg, the special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund said in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post entitled, ``9/11 fund. Once was enough.''

He said, ``Despite its success, the fund has not set a precedent. Congress has not authorized similar compensation for the thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina, for those injured by other natural disasters, or for the families of those killed in such tragedies. Nor has Congress exhibited such generosity toward U.S. soldiers wounded or the families of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

``The same is true of victims of terrorist attacks that took place before September 11, 2001. The Navy personnel who died in the suicide attack on the USS Cole and the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing received no such public compensation. Even the victims of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 were denied.''

Feinberg said, ``Bad things happen to good people every day; Congress does not come to their financial rescue with generous, tax-free checks. In our free society, based on notions of limited government and equal protection of the laws, we simply do not expect the government to step in whenever misfortune strikes.''

When firefighters all across this country enter burning buildings, when rescue workers clean up toxic spills, people are injured, people are killed all the time. We do not have compensation funds for them. We have normal procedures, normal processes through which people receive assistance. Even the most recent compensation funds for the gulf oil spill and for the victims of the shooting at Virginia Tech were privately funded compensation funds. This is not the correct way to proceed.

And this fund, in particular, is bloated. It includes funding for more than 20 years, until 2031. It includes far more money than Ken Feinberg said was necessary.

I urge my colleagues to not support this approach to solving this problem.

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