After voting in favor of legislation that would provide health care funding for 9-11 first responders and Ground Zero workers, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) expressed his bitter disappoint that The James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010" did not pass the House on a vote that fell largely along partisan lines.
"It's outrageous that Members of Congress would turn their backs on our 9/11 first responders as they continue to suffer from the effects of that very day. In the moments after 9/11 we said unequivocally as a nation that we would "never forget' -- and yet it seems we already have. We have forgotten how the entire nation watched with sorrow for those we lost and tried to heal emotionally after that horrible day. We have forgotten there were only a few brave souls who went back to that rubble, day-after-day, and endured the physical and mental strain of clearing the remains of the towers in lower Manhattan," said Pascrell, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, who was one of the original supporters of the legislation.
"The federal government gave those brave souls the "all clear' sign, but we now know that we were exposing those men and women to a poisonous dust that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. These responders who selflessly ran towards the danger, to help anyone they could, had faith that their government would provide for their health and well-being. It is outrageous that the opposition chose to protect foreign companies' tax shelters rather than support those who protected us. This is a shameful night in Congress -- one that I will never forget."
Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, firefighters and emergency personnel who responded at the World Trade Center in New York City were exposed to a massive, highly toxic plume of dust from the collapse of the Twin Towers. In many cases, this exposure resulted in serious respiratory illnesses and related conditions.
H.R. 847 provides funding for a health program to monitor and treat responders and community residents for health conditions related to the terrorist attacks. It also reopens the September 11, 2001 Victim Compensation Fund to provide monetary compensation for those physically injured by the attacks or by response activities and debris removal.
The bill, which would cost $7.4 billion over the next ten years, is fully paid for by a provision preventing foreign multinational firms that are incorporated in tax haven countries from avoiding tax on income earned in the United States.