U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today blasted those who have cited procedural concerns or questioned how the bill is paid for in delaying passage of the James Zadroga 9-11 Health Act of 2010, which would provide benefits to first responders of the terrorist attacks at Ground Zero in New York City.
"There are always excuses for not doing the right thing. But the first responders who ran towards the falling towers on Sept. 11, 2001, and those who worked in the toxic plume of Ground Zero in the months that followed, didn't give any excuses. They simply served their nation at a time of need -- and that's what every Member of Congress needs to do now by passing this bill," said Pascrell, a House Homeland Security Committee member who proudly voted for the legislation when it passed the House in September.
"This legislation was paid for when it passed the House, and it will be paid for when considered in the Senate. So I ask my friends on the other side of the aisle to look beyond the questions of process and politics. As Americans we can all clearly see that by enacting this legislation -- almost ten years later -- we will have finally done the right thing in the right way."
Named for James Zadroga, a 34-year-old police officer who died from respiratory diseases contracted at Ground Zero, the bill provides medical monitoring and treatment to the over 71,000 people exposed to harmful toxins and dust on the scene.
Det. Zadroga was just one of the many police officers, firefighters and emergency personnel who responded at the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 and 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.
The legislation 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 legislation also reopens the September 11, 2011 Victim Compensation Fund to provide monetary compensation for those physically injured by the attacks or by response activities and debris removal. Reports suggest that the Senate has a new version, fully paid-for over the next 10 years by a provision preventing foreign multinational firms from avoiding United States taxes by routing income through other haven countries.