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Update on 9/11 Responders Bill–Two articles, two assessments

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Pols: 9/11 workers likely to get health help

BY Tom Brune
March 31, 2009
Newsday.com

WASHINGTON — Sponsors of a bill to compensate and cover health care costs
of ailing 9/11 responders and recovery workers predicted Tuesday the House would
pass the long-pending legislation this year.

New York Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, of Manhattan,
key sponsors of the measure, said the bill’s ultimate fate lies in the Senate,
where Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has promised to introduce a companion bill.

"We have a really good chance of passing this," Nadler said.

Added Maloney, "We’re going to get it done. We’re going to pass this bill."

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said some Republicans would join Democrats in voting
for the bill. Nadler said if Congress passes a bill President Barack Obama has
said he would sign it.

Nadler and Maloney made their predictions to two busloads of retired police,
firefighters and other workers harmed by their work on the pile or nearby who
had come down for a hearing on the bill. They are among the thousands of 9/11
responders whose ailments did not become apparent until after the 911 Victims
Compensation Fund closed in 2003.

Nadler and Maloney have proposed a $11-billion fund to both cover health costs
and provide compensation. The bill also would limit the liability of the city
and the contractors and subcontractors that took part in the recovery and clean
up at Ground Zero.

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) also expressed
optimism and support for the bill after the hearing and in the pep talk to the
9/11 workers.

MORE:

It’s too late: GOP tells 9/11′s sick that it’s been too long since
the attack for compensation

March 31, 2009
By Michael Mcauliff
NYDailyNews.com

Take
our Poll
(link to original article)
Too late for help? Do you think the Sept. 11 Victims’ Compensation Fund should
be reopened?

Yes. There are still people suffering who need help.

No. It’s too vulnerable to scam artists.

WASHINGTON — Two busloads of Sept. 11 workers made what’s become an annual
pilgrimage to Washington Tuesday, pleading for Congress to help the thousands
of rescuers and responders left to battle 9/11-induced illness on their own.

About 80 former rescue workers and family appealed at a hearing for lawmakers
to reopen the Sept. 11 Victims’ Compensation Fund to aide some 11,000 people
who have gotten ill since the fund closed in 2005 from their work at Ground
Zero, and have since sued the city and contractors.

They got skepticism from some GOP lawmakers, but won support from the former
boss of the expired compensation fund, Ken Feinberg, who said the massive effort
should be restarted to end the expensive, time-consuming litigation.

"The only reason they’re litigating is because the 9/11 fund compensated
their brethren, but could not compensate them before it expired," said
Feinberg. "They would have met all the criteria and they would have been
compensated."

Legislation sponsored by Manhattan Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler,
who chaired the Judiciary subcommittee hearing, would reopen the fund for 22
years, allowing people with slower developing ailments like cancer to be compensated
for sacrificing themselves on Sept. 11, 2001.

Some Republicans objected that the time frame was too long, and suggested it
would be subject to abuse. They also feared creating a semi-permanent fund for
victims of the terror attacks would open a precedent that would require similar
funds.

The Rev. Bill Minson, a Santa Monica, Calif., preacher who ministered to 9/11
heroes, said setting a precedent for the government to help in major disasters
– manmade or natural – was fine.

"The federal government has to be at least prepared to respond when massive
numbers of people are suffering," said Minson, who started volunteering
at Ground Zero on Sept. 13.

"The Republicans need to think about what they (the workers) have done,"
Minson said.

"These guys are sick and there’s not debating it," said Anne Marie
Bauman, 44, whose former NYPD officer husband, Christopher, couldn’t make the
trip today because of the heart ailments he’s suffered since 9/11.

A number of witnesses at the hearing, including contracters and city lawyer
Michael Cardozo, said reponing the fund would be the quickest, and probably
the cheapest, route to ending lawsuits and easing suffering. Cardozo said the
problem with suits is that it pits one set of heroes — the city and contractors
who also sacrificed on 9/11 — against another.

Bauman said the issue is simple, though.

"There’s no one else to help people who deserve it, without the government,"
said Bauman.

Source URL: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/03/31/2009-03-31_its_too_late_gop_tells_911s_sick_that_it-1.html