By Michael McAuliff
New York Daily News blog
Firefighter Brian McCauley died yesterday of cancer at the age of 42.
Today, his friends brought their grief and anger to the Long Branch, N.J., office of one of the congressmen who has failed to move legislation that would permanently help other people who sacrificed at Ground Zero.
“They’re turning their backs on guys like Brian,” said Larry Feilich, an FDNY dispatcher from the Bronx, who last saw McCauley about a month ago.
“I’m on my second set of widows,” said the Rev. Bill Minson, who offered counseling after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and finds himself doing it again and again.
Minson and Feilich were among dozens of protesters who targeted Rep. Frank Pallone for not moving a major part of the $11 billion legislation that would reopen the Sept. 11 victims’ fund and guarantee health care for responders who don’t have it.
Pallone heads the Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health, which has jurisdiction over about $3 billion of the bill, which would cover 30 years.
Pallone had promised to bring that legislation up for action back in September, but he has not.
His office responded that it hasn’t moved because Pallone doesn’t think the measure will pass.
“The congressman is a strong supporter of the bill and is working to get enough support to vote it out of committee,” said spokesman Richard McGrath. “Right now there isn’t enough support and if we bring it up for a vote and we lose, it will all but kill the bill. The congressman is optimistic that we will get the support and the votes needed. This is an important cause that we believe in.”
“I don’t know what it’s going to take, but these people are not going to go away,” said Minson of the advocates.
“They’re dying every day,” said Feilich of the responders.
Teresa Quibell holds a picture outside Rep. Frank Pallone’s office of her late husband, Greg, who died in 2008 of 9/11-linked cancer.