Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, co-sponsored the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (HR 847) that passed the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2010 by unanimous consent. This legislation is named after New York Police Officer James Zadroga, a hero and resident of North Arlington, NJ, who contracted a fatal respiratory disease during his heroic Ground Zero recovery effort and died on January 5, 2006. An autopsy of Mr. Zadroga's revealed that toxic chemicals and fibers from the burning World Trade Center ruins were found in his lungs. Rep. Rothman released the following statement:
The passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is long overdue. The late Officer Zadroga, and the families of many other heroes like him, will now get the support they deserve. The first responders and survivors exposed to the toxins of Ground Zero will also get the health care and compensation they deserve.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed this act on September 29, 2010 and I am pleased that the U.S. Senate was able to pass this bill today, but the delay in providing health care for the heroes who answered the call of duty on September 11, 2010, is a national disgrace. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Americans vowed to never forget the innocent lives lost that fateful day, or the selfless sacrifice of the brave first responders who rushed toward the burning towers to help.
This important legislation honors our promise to care for those brave men and women - firefighters, rescue workers, police officers, EMTs and construction and cleanup workers - who helped our nation recover after that tragic day.
Thousands of these first responders and survivors exposed to the toxins of Ground Zero, as well as the families of the heroes who died on that day are in need of help. Many of them are our friends and neighbors from Northern New Jersey. The legislation that has now passed both chambers of Congress stands as a testament to the great sacrifice Officer Zadroga, his family, and all those who rushed to help on September 11, 2001, have made.