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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #661
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    9/11 health bill finally gets Senate panel hearing; no date set yet

    BY Michael Mcauliff
    Thursday, May 27th 2010, 4:00 AM

    WASHINGTON - A Senate committee finally agreed Wednesday to give the 9/11 health bill a hearing.

    A spokeswoman for Senate Health Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said no date was set.

    But it would mark the first time the measure to care for ailing Sept. 11 responders advanced that far in the Senate. The bill has passed two committees in the House and could be voted on there before July 4.

    "At my urging, Chairman Harkin has agreed to hold a hearing," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

    "My colleagues in the House have made tremendous progress on this critical legislation; now we need action in the Senate," she added.

    Politics could add urgency to the Senate effort. The bill passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday with just two Republican votes.

    If the GOP picks up seats in Congress in the fall as expected, passing the $11 billion measure would likely be more difficult next year.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #662
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Local pols push 9/11 health care bill through committee

    BY Meghan Neal

    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, possibly as early as next month. Meanwhile, the Senate HELP committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) has a hearing scheduled for July.

    Thousands of rescue workers that responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as well as local residents, office workers and school children, continue to suffer significant medical problems, the bill states.

    Nadler was quick to point out that at least 10,000 rescue workers who traveled from all around the country after the attacks were also affected. One of the major reasons for opposition to the bill is that it would delegate a substantial amount of federal funds solely to New York.

    “People from 431 of 435 congressional districts came to help,” Nadler said. “It’s not just a New York issue. New York was not attacked; the United States was attacked.”

    The bill’s supporters pointed fingers at the federal government, saying it claimed the air was safe for residents to return to New York when in fact it was not.

    By quickly returning to town and starting to rebuild, it meant the terrorists did not win, said Catherine Hughes, co-chair of Manhattan Community Board 1. Now many who lived, worked and went to school in the area are sick, with more becoming sick every day.

    A representative of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association sited a New England Journal of Medicine article statistic that firefighters at the scene lost 12 years of lung capacity in the blink of an eye.

    Several first responders present expressed concern that if, and when, another attack occurred, people might think twice before responding due to the potential health consequences.

    The bill sites studies and medical monitoring programs that show increased health problems and worsened symptoms over the years. This includes respiratory issues, mental health conditions, low pregnancy rates and birth defects.

    The bill is named the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, after the first NYPD officer whose death, of respiratory problems, was sited as a direct cause of toxins at the site of the attack.

    The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act has two main components. One, it continues comprehensive health care and expands federal programs to monitor those exposed to toxins and treat those already diagnosed with illness or injury.

    Two, it re-opens the Victim Compensation Fund, which enables families of victims to recoup financial losses caused by the disaster. The legislation would extend the deadline for those who wish to file a claim.

    Adding pressure to the issue is the city’s $657 million legal settlement being offered to responders for 9/11-related health problems. People could be forced to choose between the less generous settlement or take a risk on a bill that is not guaranteed to pass.

    Rep. Maloney said Tuesday’s vote was the toughest hurdle yet.

    “We’ve gathered at ground zero many times,” she said, standing at Vesey and Greenwich Streets. “I look forward to the day when the bill will be law and we don’t have to do this anymore.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #663
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Nearly two years after Zadroga bill signed, Ground Zero workers and others sickened or injured in 9/11 attacks haven't been paid


    Ground Zero responders and lower Manhattan residents sickened or injured in the 9/11 attacks can forget about any financial help from Uncle Sam before the holidays.

    Nearly two years after President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on Jan. 2, 2011, no one has gotten a dime.

    “We’re going into the third year of the law, and the fact that no one’s been compensated after eight years of hard work to get the bill passed is unacceptable,” fumed Ground Zero advocate John Feal.

    Congress appropriated $2.7 billion for a reopened Victim Compensation Fund to dole out $875 million in the first five years and the rest in 2016.

    So far, 15,000 firefighters, cops, hardhats and others who lived, worked or went to school downtown have registered as potential claimants. But only 1,500 have filed applications, officials told The Post.

    Cancers were recently added to the covered illnesses, but the fund has yet to issue the forms for those applications.

    Claimants must first prove they suffered a covered illness caused by exposure to Ground Zero or other 9/11 site, then prove an "economic loss" not met by other payments.

    Those who qualify for compensation can get a portion of their estimated award -- possibly 10 percent or so -- in 20 days.

    “That 10 percent could have helped people enjoy a happy, healthy holiday and put toys under the tree for their kids,” Feal said.

    “It’s the same crap — no different than what we went through with the city settlement,” said Richard Palmer, a former Rikers Island warden who suffers from asthma. “It’s frustrating. Let’s get moving already.”

    One lawyer said he has filed nearly 100 applications but has no idea where they stand: “We haven’t gotten any feedback from anybody. It’s like a black hole.”

    Another lawyer, Andrew Carboy, said that his firm has filed about 200 applications but that the only response so far was a request for one client to re-sign a form. “The signature wasn’t close enough to the signature line,” he said.

    But Sheila Birnbaum, special master of the fund, told The Post that most applications have arrived incomplete. Only 500 claimants have sent in the required signatures; others lack key details. “Nobody wants to get money out quicker than I do,” she said. “We’ve been disappointed that we just don’t have all the information to do it.”

    Twelve claimants have been found eligible, mainly FDNY members with such problems as sleep apnea and lung, sinus and digestive diseases. But one had “no economic loss,” and three were already compensated by the first 9/11 fund, Birnbaum said.

    Payments, such as pensions or a settlement in the mass lawsuit against the city, will be deducted from the awards. Birnbaum said the VCF staff has been forced to track down missing information.

    Birnbaum, who negotiated $500 million in settlements with 92 families of those killed on 9/11, said she hopes to start making awards in January.

    “There’s this tension in the fund to make sure the claims are legitimate and at the same time to bend over backward to give awards to everybody who deserves it,” she said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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