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Owens Votes to Support 9/11 Responders through Health Benefits

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

- Yesterday, Congressman Bill Owens voted in favor of H.R. 847, The James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, a bill that provides funding for a health program to monitor and treat responders that suffer illness related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The legislation passed the floor of the House of Representatives today by a vote of 268-160.

"I am proud to stand with a bipartisan majority in the House to pass this bill," Owens said. "During a time of crisis, many risked their lives to help with rescue and recovery efforts related to 9/11, and it is well past time they receive compensation for their sacrifices."

Thousands of first responders and others exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero are now ill as a result and need assistance in covering their medical expenses. The legislation reopens the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to provide monetary compensation for those physically injured by the attacks or by response activities and debris removal. H.R. 847 is fully paid for by a provision that further closes tax loopholes for companies that ship American jobs overseas.

It is estimated that over 31,000 World Trade Center (WTC) responders have received some form of treatment since 2006. Nearly 53,000 responders are enrolled in medical monitoring. 71,000 individuals are enrolled in the WTC Health Registry, indicating that they were exposed to the toxins. These responders include firefighters, rescue workers, police officers, EMTs, construction workers, cleanup workers, residents, and school children. Their illnesses include a range of respiratory, gastrointestinal, and mental health conditions.

Earlier this month, Congressman Owens appeared at a press conference with a bipartisan New York delegation urging action on H.R. 847.

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