Today, U.S. Rep. Michael A. Arcuri (NY-24) led debate and voted to finally address the health crisis caused by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847) would provide health screening, monitoring and treatment to those suffering from diseases related to exposure to toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
"More than 40,000 responders from around the country rushed in to aid their fellow Americans in the aftermath of the attacks and are now suffering from debilitating health issues stemming from exposure to the massive, toxic dust cloud that enveloped lower Manhattan," said Arcuri. "9/11 responders disregarded their own personal safety for their country; it is our responsibility to not disregard their dire health needs any longer. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues of the New York delegation on both sides of the aisle to pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and to finally provide these heroes with the proper care they deserve."
The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would establish a World Trade Center Health Program to screen, monitor, and treat eligible responders and survivors who are suffering from diseases related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The bill also funds research to improve our understanding of the long-term health effects of this exposure. Additionally, H.R. 847 would reopen the federal Victim Compensation Fund to make payments to families of those who were killed or injured in the attacks. The bill is completely paid for by clamping down on "treaty shopping," a practice that allows foreign companies to evade paying their fair share of U.S. taxes.
H.R. 847 is historic legislation, but it is not unprecedented. In the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attacks, Congress passed the War Hazards Compensation Act of 1942 to provide health care and financial relief to civilians who helped recover the dead and salvage what remained of our Pacific fleet.