WASHINGTON – The ill and dying Americans who answered the call after 9/11 received a “Christmas Miracle” on Wednesday – help is finally on the way.
More than nine years after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, the Senate voted unanimously to pass the $4.3 billion James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
The House quickly gave the measure its final stamp of approval. President Obama will sign the bill law soon.
The bill provides medical care and financial relief to tens of thousands of responders.
Many Capitol Hill insiders never believed the measure would pass, and some Republicans came within hours of killing it.
But a dramatic night of negotiations by New York lawmakers and the bill’s foes Tuesday night and into early Wednesday won an eleventh-hour compromise.
“It’s a good Christmas present for everybody,” said Joseph Zadroga, the father of NYPD Detective James Zadroga who died from his ruined lungs and became the face of the legislation.
Jennifer McNamara, whose firefighter husband, John, died of cancer blamed on 9/11, wept when she heard the news. She recalled how much her husband wanted his government to act for people who sacrificed. “Working for this day was such a part of my husband’s existence, and mine,” an emotional McNamara said.
“This is something that will help take care of people, and that’s something John would be proud of,” she said. “My Christmas… Continue reading
By David Edwards
The Senate passed a bill by unanimous consent Wednesday that will provide health care benefits to first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Original report follows…
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) earned himself a visit from some 9/11 first responders after he threatened to block a bill that would provide them health benefits.
A group of former Ground Zero workers visited the senator’s office Tuesday to give him a piece of their mind but Coburn refused the meeting.
“Mr. Coburn should be ashamed of himself,” John Feal, the leader of the group, told Think Progress. “Because I think before he was a senator he was a doctor and he took an oath to help people that are sick. He’s going against his oath as a doctor. He can vote any way he wants as a senator, but as a doctor, he just embarrassed the medical profession.”
“What about going office to office? Have their staff and the senators been very receptive to the group?” Think Progress asked.
“Once in a while we’ll run into some resistance and some arrogance and some rude people. Listen, we busted our asses since 9/11. We’ve fought and advocated for ourselves so others wouldn’t. So to be insulted by the staff of the United States Senate and Congress — most of them were 12 years old when 9/11 happened — doesn’t bother me,” Feal said.
All but one of the 42 Republican senators stood together last week… Continue reading
By The Associated Press
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
911workernycsept11 Dems outraged as GOP blocks 9/11 responders health bill
May be end of the road for $7-billion aid package to heroes of 9/11
Senate Republicans on Thursday derailed a bill to aid people who got sick after
exposure to dust from the World Trade Center’s collapse in the Sept. 11 attack.
Supporters were three votes short of the 60 needed to proceed to debate and
a final vote on the bill that would have provided as much as $7.4 billion in
health care and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors. The bill failed
on a test vote, 57-42.
Fifty-seven Democrats voted for the bill and 41 Republicans opposed it. Sen.
Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, switched his vote to ‘no’ at the last moment,
a parliamentary move that allows him to bring the measure up again for a vote.
The New York Times reports:
Republicans have been raising concerns about how to pay for the $7.4 billion
measure, while Democrats, led by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York,
have argued that the nation had a moral obligation to assist those who put their
lives at risk during rescue operations at ground zero….
In a statement, [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg chastised Senate Republicans
for their “wrong-headed political strategy” and called on them to
allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote. “The attacks of 9/11 were
attacks on America,” he said, “and we have a… Continue reading
October 1, 2010
Retired NFL great George Martin, who walked from New York to San Diego in 2007-08 to help thousands of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers with serious medical conditions, is hitting the road once again. On Sunday, October 17, 2010, Martin will lead an assembly of former New York Giants and other NFL alumni, 9/11 first responders and others in the 2nd Annual “Giant Steps for 9/11″ Walk and Family Fun Day to raise funds for thousands of Ground Zero first responders.
“The care of our 9/11 first responders is a national problem and an American responsibility,” said Martin, co-captain of the Super Bowl XXI Champion New York Giants (1986), who formed a Journey for 9/11 Foundation at the completion of his cross-country trek. “Government funding and insurance policies do not adequately cover the substantial cost of the care these people desperately need. As Americans, we must do more. We cannot turn our backs on those who answered the call and now suffer with serious medical conditions.”
Beginning at 9 a.m., the 2nd Annual Giant Steps for 9/11 Walk is a family friendly, 10-mile walk from the George Washington Bridge to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s (“FDU”) Hackensack’s campus. For less adventurous walkers, a shorter four-mile walk will start at approximately 10:45 a.m. at Hackensack University Medical Center and end at FDU. Following the walk event, a Family Fun Day for all registrants will commence on the FDU campus.
Registration for the walk event is $35 per person.… Continue reading
by Scott Ford
September 30, 2010
The following names are the people in Congress that voted AGAINST helping the 9/11 1st Responders with health care. There are about 900 dead responders since the attacks 9 years ago, and tens of thousands more sick and dying. When everybody was running away from Ground Zero, these people were running in to save as many people as they can. The people on this list feel that we should not help them. Please adjust your voter ballots accordingly in November.
No Votes (160)
Member, Party, District
Robert B. Aderholt, R, AL-4
Todd Akin, R, MO-2
Rodney Alexander, R, LA-5
Steve Austria, R, OH-7
Michele Bachmann, R, MN-6
Spencer Bachus, R, AL-6
J. Gresham Barrett, R, SC-3
Roscoe G. Bartlett, R, MD-6
Joe L. Barton, R, TX-6
Marion Berry, D, AR-1
Judy Biggert, R, IL-13
Brian P. Bilbray, R, CA-50
Gus Bilirakis, R, FL-9
Rob Bishop, R, UT-1
Marsha Blackburn, R, TN-7
John A. Boehner, R, OH-8
Jo Bonner, R, AL-1
Mary Bono Mack, R, CA-45
John Boozman, R, AR-3
Charles Boustany Jr., R, LA-7
Kevin Brady, R, TX-8
Bobby Bright, D, AL-2
Paul Broun, R, GA-10
Henry E. Brown Jr., R, SC-1
Ginny Brown-Waite, R, FL-5
Vern Buchanan, R, FL-13
Michael C. Burgess, R, TX-26
Dan Burton, R,… Continue reading
9/11 Health and Compensation Bill Passes House
September 29, 2010 — Legislation to establish health treatment and monitoring
programs for World Trade Center responders was overwhelmingly approved by a
bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.
H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, was approved
by a vote of 268-160. The vote to pass the bill followed an attempt by Representative
Christopher Lee (R-NY) and House Republican Leadership to amend H.R. 847 by
adding unrelated legislation to repeal a portion of the health care reform law
and reform the medical malpractice system. The motion failed by a vote of 185-244.
Had the motion succeeded, it would have effectively killed the bill.
“I am pleased that the 9/11 Act passed the House by an overwhelming and bipartisan
majority,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “World Trade Center
responders know they are finally one step closer to receiving the care and benefits
they need and deserve.”
The September 29 vote follows a previous attempt to pass H.R. 847 in the House
earlier this year under rules requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. That
attempt fell 21 votes short of a two-thirds majority.
Following that setback, the IAFF lobbied extensively to bring the bill back
up under regular order, supplementing the efforts of New York Local 94 and Local
“Our two New York City affiliates, their leadership and their members lobbied
tirelessly to move the 9/11 Act forward,” says Schaitberger. “Today’s vote is… Continue reading
September 21, 2010
By John Feal
Dear Friends, Supporters and Fellow First Responders:
As most of you are aware, the past twenty-four hours have been extremely chaotic
in regards to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. I, along with
fellow FealGood Foundation board members, have worked with various union leaders
to keep the pressure on our elected officials. As of approximately 5:30 today
our bill was moved into the “Rules Committee” of the United States
House of Representatives and prepared for full House vote. While a modest victory,
this should be considered a step forward to our ultimate goal. However, to our
great displeasure, a date for such a vote has not yet been announced. This is
unacceptable and over the next twenty-four hours we will continue to place additional
pressure on leadership to give us the date we have waited nine years for.
Make no mistake, all involved in this struggle consider it an insult of the
highest degree that we are forced to continue to lobby House leaders to merely
place this bill on calendar. Despite this, we have been advised that the bill
will be given a date for vote tomorrow, September 22, 2010. While promises to
this fragile community have been made and broken so many times that I do not
expect you to believe this one, we must respect the leadership our New York
Congressional Delegation has provided and rely on them to ensure that this promise
is kept. Tomorrow, the… Continue reading
August 06, 2010
RT filmed this emotional footage of 9/11 first responders pouring their hearts out at a speech just blocks away from where the twin towers fell. The rally was in response to Congress defeating a federal bill that would have provided billions of dollars in health care for those sickened by toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers Sept. 11, 2001.
They passed symbolic legislation to honor first reponders:
That the House of Representatives supports first responders in the United States in their efforts to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, and affirms the goals and ideals of National First Responder Appreciation Day to honor and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices made by all first responders in the United States.
And yet, first responders have had to fight for medical help for more than a decade:
New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is plainly fired up and ready to go. In a losing battle to secure passage of a bill to fund health care and compensation for ill 9/11 rescue workers, he unleashed a tirade against what he called unprincipled GOP opponents of the measure. Watch his outburst, which concluded in him smashing down the House rostrum microphone:
The House voted down the bill, which would have provided $3.2 billion over the next 10 years to fund free health care for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who have fallen ill from toxic smoke and debris they breathed at the World Trade Center site. The bill would have also provided $4.2 billion in compensation over that same span. The legislation proposed to pay for the benefits by closing a tax loophole on foreign subsidiaries that do business in the United States.
The House Democratic leadership employed an arcane procedural maneuver to suspend the rules before consideration of the bill (titled the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act). Democrats reportedly used the gambit to prevent House Republicans from swamping the otherwise popular measure with what Democrats called excessively partisan amendments. But in order for the bill to pass in this form, it needed a two-thirds majority. The final tally was 255 for it (12 of them Republicans), and 159 against (four of them Democrats).
Some GOP opponents painted it as a “slush… Continue reading
BY Michael Mcauliff
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
July 28, 2010
WASHINGTON – The House votes Wednesday or Thursday for the first time ever on a bill to care for the heroes and victims of Sept. 11, 2001 – and it’s likely to fail.
That’s because Democratic House leaders decided Tuesday to push ahead with the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act under a rule that requires two-thirds approval to pass.
Many Republicans are concerned about the $10.5 billion price tag, and many don’t like the way it’s paid for.
News of the scheme immediately alarmed 9/11 responders.
“Whoever votes ‘No’ tomorrow should go to jail for manslaughter,” said John Feal, who lost half his foot at Ground Zero in the cleanup.
Feal thinks House leaders should have found a way to move the bill in the regular way, needing just a simple majority.
“They’ll all go home and lick their wounds after the vote, but 9/11 responders are the ones who are going to suffer without health care after nine years,” Feal said.
Sources told the Daily News that Democrats feared Republicans would attach toxic changes in a simple majority vote. No such tinkering is allowed under the two-thirds rule.
New York’s legislators were still holding out hope they would prevail.
“Every time we had a vote on this, we did much better than people thought,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens).
And Republicans who oppose the bill can be cast in a politically poisonous light, Democrats said, noting the… Continue reading
By Meghan Neal
Downtown Express – Volume 23, Number 3 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 28 – June 3, 2010
U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerry Nadler paid a visit to ground zero on Sunday to highlight a 9/11 health care bill that has been dragging through Congress for nearly nine years. The bill cleared a huge hurdle on Tuesday when it passed its final committee vote, sending it to the house floor.
“It’s a difficult bill, a complicated bill, a costly bill,” said Maloney. The legislation would provide $11 billion in federal funds toward health care and compensation for first responders and survivors who are sick as a result of toxins left in the air after the 9/11 attacks.
Maloney and Nadler were joined by a group of the bill’s supporters: police, firefighters, 9/11 first responders currently suffering from health problems, members of the New York delegation and Lower Manhattan residents.
“Every day another floor, another piece of steel goes into reconstructing ground zero, and yet we still haven’t found a way to provide health care,” Rep. Anthony Weiner said at the event. “We’ve waited far, far too long.”
Now the bill is one step closer to becoming law. Having passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday, it will be sent to the floor of congress for a vote,… Continue reading
May 19, 2010
The U.S. government suppressed health information after 9/11. For example, as Newsday noted in 2003:
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the White House instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available.
That finding is included in a report released Friday by the Office of the Inspector General of the EPA.
The same thing appears to be happening in connection with the Gulf oil spill.
Specifically, marine toxicologist Ricki Ott writes:
… Continue reading
Local fishermen hired to work on BP’s uncontrolled oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are scared and confused. Fishermen here and in other small communities dotting the southern marshes and swamplands of Barataria Bay are getting sick from the working on the cleanup, yet BP is assuring them they don’t need respirators or other special protection from the crude oil, strong hydrocarbon vapors, or chemical dispersants being sprayed in massive quantities on the oil slick.
Fishermen have never seen the results from the air-quality monitoring patches some of them wear on their rain gear when they are out booming and skimming the giant oil slick. However, more and more fishermen are suffering from bad headaches, burning eyes, persistent coughs, sore throats, stuffy sinuses, nausea, and dizziness.
Study Finds Rescue Workers from Sept. 11 Had Lung Problems Seven Years Later
By Lauren Cox,
ABC News Medical Unit
April 7, 2010
More than seven years after the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, rescue workers still had trouble breathing after
they inhaled from the cloud of dust that enveloped southern Manhattan, a new
[See video available at source, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Asthma/firefighters-911-lung-problems-study-finds/story?id=10313156
, “Study shows no recovery for 9/11 rescue workers who suffered acute lung damage”.
Doctors conducted a seven-year study of members of the New York City Fire Department who responded to the World Trade Center attacks between Sept. 11 and Sept. 24, 2001. The researchers were able to include 91 percent of the responding workers — a total of 10,870 firefighters and 1,911 EMS workers.
By 2008, the rescuers who had significant declines in lung function a year after the attack had still not recovered, and the recorded drop in lung function was about 12 times the rate seen in normal aging. The research was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Exposed people want to have answers. Not just for themselves but for entire group,” said Dr. David Prezant, senior author of the study and Chief Medical Officer of the Office of Medical Affairs, for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). “I was at 9/11 and was exposed myself.”
Prezant teamed up… Continue reading
Orders Renegotiation of Settlement for People Sickened by Dust from
World Trade Center; Says $657M Insufficient
March 19, 2010
A federal judge on Friday rejected a legal settlement of more than a half-billion
dollars for people sickened by ash and dust from the World Trade Center, saying
the deal to compensate 10,000 police officers, firefighters and other laborers
didn’t contain enough money for the workers.
“In my judgment, this settlement is not enough,” said U.S. District Judge Alvin
The judge also said he was concerned too much of the deal would be eaten up
by legal fees and that ground zero responders were going to be pressured into
signing on before they knew how much they stood to receive.
CBSNews.com: In 9/11’s Wake, Anguish and Anger
Ground Zero Health Crisis
Section: September 11, 2001 – Eight Years Later
The settlement proposal would have given the workers $575 million to $657 million,
but each person’s amount was based on a complicated point system that would
give some workers only a few thousand dollars while others might qualify for
$1 million or more.
A third or more of the amount set aside for the workers was expected to go to
their lawyers. Some plaintiffs had agreed at the start of the case to give as
much as 40 percent of any judgment to cover fees and expenses.
Voices of Sick 9/11 Responders
Cancer Kills 9/11 Firefighter
Under the terms of the deal, workers were given just… Continue reading
By Mireya Navarro
New York Times
Sgt. Dawn Sorrento says she looks on the years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a blur of doctor’s visits, ambushes by illnesses she had never heard of and growing resentment toward the city that challenged her injury claims.
[RELATED: Ground Zero Workers Reach Deal Over Claims (March 12, 2010)]
Yet on Friday, Sergeant Sorrento, a police officer who is among some 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers at ground zero who sued the city for health damages, felt a grim sort of satisfaction. She had expected her case to be among the first to go to trial this spring; instead, both sides announced a legal settlement of up to $657.5 million Thursday night.
“It’s nice that someone took responsibility, finally,” said Sergeant Sorrento, 43, who helped coordinate the movement of cranes, dignitaries and cadaver-hunting dogs in and out of ground zero in September 2001. “The city finally acknowledges that 9/11 diseases do exist and that people are suffering.”
Officials cast the settlement as righting a historic wrong on Friday and predicted that it would assure speedy and just compensation to the workers, who have waited more than six years for a legal resolution. But significant hurdles remain.
Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, of the United States District Court in Manhattan, has made clear that he intends to play a role in assuring that individuals are compensated fairly.
At a hearing on Friday, Judge Hellerstein said he would take a week to review the terms of the agreement and convene again next Friday to give his “initial impressions” and to hear from interested parties, including plaintiffs.…Continue reading
March 12, 2010
New York City officials have agreed to pay up to 657.5m US dollars
(437m sterling) to thousands of rescue and clean-up workers after 9/11.
The settlement would compensate more than 10,000 plaintiffs who say they were
made sick by dust at the Ground Zero site of the attacks.
At least 95% of the plaintiffs must approve the deal for it to take effect.
The money would come from a federally financed insurance fund of almost $1bn
that the city controls.
The toxic cloud from the collapsed World Trade Center towers contained particles
of asbestos, lead, glass and cement.
A claims adjudicator, chosen by the lawyers involved in the case, would decide
on the validity of each plaintiff’s claim and how much compensation they were
The agreement follows a long battle in the courts, but must still be approved
by a judge and agreed to by the claimants.
The announcement was made on Thursday evening by the World Trade Center Captive
Insurance Company, which was set up to handle the claims of those injured in
the rescue effort.
In a statement, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the settlement “a
fair and reasonable resolution to a complex set of circumstances”.
Some workers are expected to receive payments of only a few thousand dollars,
while others could be in line to get more than $1m, depending on their injuries.
The BBC’s Adam Brookes, in Washington, says the agreement means that the long-running… Continue reading
February 28, 2010
by Alison Gendar
New York Daily News
A lawyer in two Ground Zero sickness cases green-lighted for trial says he has a smoking gun: buried city documents that prove firefighters should have gotten respirators.
The papers emerged in a veritable mountain of files the city turned over to workers who believe they were sickened by toxins after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Lawyer Andrew Carboy, whose firm represents more than 600 firefighters, said the FDNY had rules on the book requiring Bravest be equipped with respirators before Sept. 11.
But memos showing that weren’t handed over until this summer – in a data dump of 3 million documents – five years after the legal battle began. “They provide everyone with helmets, with bunker gear, with [air] packs. They could have done the same with respirators, and they withheld the documents saying they had a program to do it,” Carboy said.
Carboy’s firm represents Firefighters Frank Malone and the late Raymond Hauber, whose cases are among a dozen picked to go to trial, starting in May.
Four were chosen from more than 9,000 by a federal judge, four by the city, and four by plaintiffs’ lawyers. More than $1 billion in damages hinge on the outcome.
To show the city is liable, Carboy plans to wield memos about the FDNY’s “respiratory protection program,” which was supposed to provide respirators for “reasonably foreseeable emergency situations” like building collapses.
The FDNY didn’t follow its own guidelines and had only 600 respirators… Continue reading