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Obama Signs Bill on Health Care for 9/11 Rescue Workers

3 years ago
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With little of the pomp that might be expected to go with a major legislative victory from the lame duck session of Congress, President Obama signed into law the measure to pay for medical care for rescue workers and others sickened by toxic fumes and dust after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center.

"I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students and other suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need," Obama said in a statement released after the low-key signing at his rented vacation home in Hawaii. "We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks."

The $4.3 billion bill, which was passed on the final day of the 111th Congress, had been held up in the Senate for months by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and others who contended that the program would increase the federal deficit and could be vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

Normally a legislative victory like this would be accompanied by a formal signing ceremony at the White House. But to become law, the measure had to be signed by the president before he returns to Washington on Tuesday. So instead, the White House released a photo of Obama signing the bill.

In the nine years since the terrorist attacks, hundreds of rescue workers who responded to Ground Zero have become ill or even died from serious respiratory problems. The bill was named for James Zadroga, a New York City police detective who worked on the rescue effort at the World Trade Center and whose death in 2006 was attributed to exposure to toxic fumes at the site.

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13 Comments

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noodlepips

Why is it not mentioned in the Media that 1000 first responders have already died and thousands are sick and dying. this would then put this into perspective. This is my 2nd attempt to post this info???. Check it out for yourself if you do not believe me.

January 04 2011 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

The attacks on the trade towers, the pentagon and the airlines were attacks on ALL Americans.

January 03 2011 at 12:58 PM Report abuse -11 rate up rate down Reply
hughjazoul53

See folks,this is how blind this administration is, I totally agree with the bill but they flew a special plane down to Hawaii to take this bill to him when it could have been sent by mail or waited till he was back in Washington !! More spending of money we don't have right now ,just like when he had a jumbo jet fly his dog down to Florida when they were on their 32nd vacation !!!

January 03 2011 at 8:24 AM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hughjazoul53's comment
firstad

hughjazoul53 - The President signed a fax copy of the bill, which is as legal a document as his birth certificate. You probably have a problem with the use of technology, or worse don't believe it is possible. Your small minded comment is neither helpful or patriotic, certain to offend the families of the Fire and Police Departments who gave their lives or are ill from the effects of the attack.

January 03 2011 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
usamerica1st

An important and worthwhile piece of legislation that should have been passed years ago for this 'special circumstance' first responders who labored in those dangerous 'ground zero' areas. Once again, some Republicans put money ahead of concern about people. In cases like these, you pay the money and stop worrying about the imagined economic burden on children who are not yet born. Personally, I think Obama will balance the budget before he leaves office after 8 years.

January 03 2011 at 7:34 AM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
cashmanh8surkel

Funny how the article fails to mention that the republicans who held up the bill, Coburn and DeMint, were able to cut the cost in half by removing the waste and pork that democrats like Schumer cynically tacked on. Since that was the only point of contention, the article should say that Obama did not have a signing cerimony because this was a great victory for the GOP, not the lame-ass democrats.

January 03 2011 at 6:16 AM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cashmanh8surkel's comment
firstad

cashmanh8surkel - lets not forget to mention all those GOP earmarks too! First they take a pledge to not do it, then they proceed to earmark everything they can get their hands on. Schumer is about as big a hypocrite as Demint and Coburn...or don't you know about them yet?

January 03 2011 at 5:00 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
raserr

I think first responders should be provided the care that they need. But don't police officers, firemen, etc. have medical coverage provided by their employers? I think so. Why isn't this covered? They say hundreds of people in the article. If it was 1000, they would be receiving 4.3 million each in taxpayer dollars. Isn't this more than a little excessive?

January 03 2011 at 1:46 AM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
mrobin1863

Am I the only one with the cahoonahs to say that I think this should be handled in New York??? Not taking anything away from these guys at all, but they are NYPD and NYFD......seems only right then that the federal government should take care of ALL firemen and police officers injured in the line of duty???? And, unless my math is wrong, that $4.3 Billion comes to over $200,000 for every man and woman on the NYPD AND NYFD payroll.....typical of the Obama Presidency- throw that money at those folks and WASTE WASTE WASTE......you can bet MOST of the money will never see those who need it anyway, it will go to federal employees hired to manage the program (in an attempt to atificially further lower the unemployement numbers)!

January 03 2011 at 12:13 AM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrobin1863's comment
firstad

mrobin1863 - you are leaving out the civilians and officials, the first responders at the Pentagon, and the citizens who were visiting NY on business or vacations. The insurance they have from their jobs is capped and limited in many ways. This bill did away with those problems which was causing delays in treatment and death. All insurance is not created equal.

January 03 2011 at 5:07 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
extpd311

When is NYC going to finally accept responsibility for taking care of their personnel? Their people were paid to accept the risks and the outcome of 9/11, and their unions made sure to collect their insurance payments to cover them in the event of death or serious injury. Why does the whole nation have to foot the bill for what should be covered by one city???

January 02 2011 at 11:30 PM Report abuse -13 rate up rate down Reply
ellistom

"...hundreds of rescue workers..." let's just say there will be 1,000 rescue workers who need monetary assistance. $4,200,000,000 / 1,000 people = $4,200,000 for each person. Everybody OK with that?

January 02 2011 at 11:20 PM Report abuse -14 rate up rate down Reply

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