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Madam Speaker, I am proud to say that we are finally doing the right thing to support our heroes from 9/11. The agreement we have here today is much less than we originally hoped for--but more than four and a half years after the death of NYPD Det. James Zadroga--I am here to say that we need to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act right now because we are losing these brave souls as we speak.
I'm sad to say its now been nine years since 9/11 and it has taken this long to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act--nine years is too long to wait and watch as our first responders from that day continue to suffer physically and emotionally--nine years is late, BUT its not too late to do the right thing. We need to pass this bill and we need to pass it now. Nine years ago we 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.
I am proud to say that we found a way to pay for this bill so that we can do the right thing for our 9/11 workers AND for our children who will bear the debt of the decisions we make today.
Let me be clear, this isn't just a bill for New York and New Jersey--this is a bill for all Americans. We know that people from all 50 states were in lower Manhattan on or after 9/11 and now are facing serious health concerns--there are 435 Congressional Districts and 431 of them are represented by the names of constituents on the World Trade Center Health Registry.
After 9/11 we all said we would be there for these brave first responders--but today if we vote against this bill we are asking those same brave individuals to come to Washington, year after year to fight for their health benefits--do we expect them to come here ten years from now? By then it may be too late for many of these men and women who responded to their nation's call of duty.
I urge all my colleagues to support the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act--once and for all let us stand up for these brave Americans.
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