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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #631
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    First Responders Want Aid for 9/11 Illnesses

    By Jack Phillips
    Epoch Times Staff

    NEW YORK—Four years ago this day, NYPD detective James Zadroga passed away. His death was the first 9/11 responder death that was officially linked to working at ground zero in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

    A commemoration for his death took place near ground zero on Tuesday. Members of the 9/11 Police Aid Foundation, the NYC Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation, and the FealGood Foundation gathered together to read approximately 100 names of 9/11 responders who have died as a result of illnesses that occurred after doing rescue and recovery operations in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

    One of the main reasons for the gathering was not just for the memorial of responders who died due to the aftermath of 9/11, but to support H.R. 847, the James Zadroga Health & Compensation Act, in the the U.S. House of Representatives.

    James Zadroga was 34 when he died on Jan. 5, 2006, due to respiratory problems that resulted from doing about 400 hours of work near the remains of the World Trade Center.

    “Our ranks are being decimated,” said Kenny Specht, an FDNY cancer survivor, who contracted cancer as a result of doing rescue operations at ground zero. “We are worth the 30 years of comprehensive medical monitoring this bill will provide for,” he said.

    “We must pass this bill,” said one of the main sponsors of the bill, Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney. The bill is “the least we can do” to support the recovery workers at ground zero, she added.

    The bill gives additional health care to people directly impacted by ground zero like recovery workers, cleanup workers, and occupants who live and work around the site. Also included in the bill is compensation for individuals affected directly by ground zero. Currently, ground zero workers have not received any compensation from the government.

    “I hope we can finally pass comprehensive 9/11 health legislation before any more names are added to the list of those who died from 9/11-related illnesses,” said Rep. Maloney.

    One of the most recent victims of long-term health damage, FDNY firefighter Jim Ryan, died on Christmas Day due to pancreatic cancer contracted from working at ground zero for three months, reported Firefighter Hourly.

    John Feal, chair of the nonprofit FealGood Foundation, said, “We're not going to play dead. We're going to fight.” The FealGood Foundation aims to raise awareness of the health problems suffered by 9/11 first responders. “While the moral compass points south in Washington, ours is righteous. We will continue to fight,” said Feal.

    “I still have to answer to my granddaughter,” said former North Arlington Police Chief Joe Zadroga. “She asks me why did he [James Zadroga] have to go? He went because he felt it was his duty,” said Zadroga, who thinks there should be a “compensation fund for civilians” who suffer from severe health problems due to ground zero work.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #632
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 Health Care Bill Could Get Boost in Congress

    by Ari Paul
    Jan 2010

    Aiding 9/11's New Victims Advocates for those who became sick or who died from working at Ground Zero want aid from Congress and recognition from City Hall. 9/11 Health Care Bill Could Get Boost in Congress By: Ari Paul

    There’s a type of wind that blows in off the North Shore of Long Island that is not only so sharp and cold it burns your face but also has enough force that if it hits you at the right angle, it can knock the air away from your mouth as you try to inhale. Just after Christmas, as firefighters gathered outside a Suffolk County church for the funeral of retired firefighter James Ryan -- who died from cancer doctors believe was caused by toxins he was exposed to while doing recovery work at Ground Zero -- the burning wind augmented another chilly reality for New York’s Bravest: Ryan was not the first front-line responder to die from a 9/11-related illness, and he will certainly not be the last.

    Exactly a week later, many of those same responders gathered by the World Trade Center site to read the names of 9/11 responders and Ground Zero recovery workers who have died from illnesses related to their duty. It was the fourth anniversary of the death a another notable responder, New York Police Department Detective James Zadroga, whose name is attached to a bill in Congress that would establish permanent funding for health treatment and monitoring programs for 9/11 response workers and lower Manhattan residents, students and workers.

    The medical centers treating the thousands of 9/11 responders as well as lower Manhattan residents and workers suffering from respiratory ailments and mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder survive on annual appropriations funding from Congress. Already a precarious situation, the financial crisis makes things shaker, which is why advocates are intensifying their push for a more reliable funding source.

    Show Us the Money
    The hold-up -- legislatively speaking -- is in the House Energy Committee. The bill has two parts. The compensation and health component was approved with bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee on the former aspects terms, but the health subcommittee of the Energy Committee hasn’t voted on it, as its chair, New Jersey Democrat Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats, and Peter King, a Republican, -- say the votes are there.

    However, it has been difficult for lawmakers outside the tri-state area to commit to it, since the measure carries an undetermined price tag. "I am more confident than I have ever been, but like anything it's never done until it’s done," Maloney said, noting that the Zadroga Act has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    The bill has had a complicated history among the various groups who support long-term federal funding. The main city police union -- the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association -- has opposed the bill’s current language because it does not specifically mention certain cancers. They have feared this means that members who develop those cancers would not be covered. Other police and first-response unions believed it is more important to pass the bill now and tweak conditions -- such as adding the cancers -- later.

    Resident and worker groups such as Beyond Ground Zero have had similar reservations and also noted that the bill covered residents, students and workers only from Houston street to South Ferry in Manhattan. They believe that the coverage area should extend at least to 14th Street, of not higher.

    Even if the activists can push the measure through the House, the Senate will be another story. If the health-care reform bill is any indication, the Senate is far more averse to government funding for health-care than the House. And the senator who had been credited with pushing for much of the current temporary funding, Hillary Clinton, is now secretary of state.

    At the ceremony on the anniversary of Zadroga’s death, John Feal -- who heads a 9/11 responders group called the Feal Good Foundation -- showed his technique for passing the bill as soon as possible by displaying his chief weapon: a piece of Whole Foods pork.

    "That’s how we get votes right? We give someone in Washington some pork," he said, citing the recent drive to pass the health-care reform bill by offering funding provisions geared to specific states. "So what I’m going to do is mail every member of Congress one these pieces of pork, and I'm going to put a 9/11 responder’s name on it."

    Death and Glory
    Meanwhile, the 9/11 first responders, their families and supporters face other issues as well.

    Ryan’s funeral, at first glance, looked like the typically ornate send-off the city's fire department is famous for: the Emerald Society’s rendition of "Amazing Grace" and a salute by columns of uniformed members. But it wasn’t an official Fire Department event with eulogies from the mayor and commissioner. Those events are reserved for firefighters who die on or as a result of injuries sustained on their shift. Those who die years later don’t count, and 9/11 responder families take this as a snub.

    Fire Department officials responded that while members who die long after 9/11 don’t get the official "line of duty" funeral, Ryan and many others did retire with a disability pension, meaning they get three fourths of their average annual salary for their last three years on the job, as opposed to half the salary, which is the standard benefit. In addition, they said, Ryan's family was virtually guaranteed a full death benefit.

    But for many first responder advocates, including the heads of unions and fraternal groups, the pomp and circumstance matters. They have voiced their protests for people, such Paramedic Deborah Reeve, a dead Ground Zero worker whose death was designated an "administrative line of duty death." One activist joked that this sounded like she died from a paper cut.

    There is a split between how the police and fire departments handle this kind of death in terms of memorials. Police officers like Zadroga, have their names displayed on the police department's memorial wall in lower Manhattan, along with cops who died on their shift, such as officers shot and killed by assailants. Ryan’s name, though, will not be affixed to the Fire Department's memorial wall at its downtown Brooklyn headquarters, along with the 343 FDNY members perished as the towers collapsed.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg has the power to set a single standard for honoring uniformed responders who die in the line of duty. But he has said he won’t. "I think each agency has to make its own policies," he said at a recent press conference. "There are great traditions that go back a long ways in both these departments."

    Uniformed Firefighters Association president Steve Cassidy said that after Ryan’s funeral, much of the media coverage treated his as a line-of-duty death -- more than had been the case for another responder who had died before him. This, Cassidy said, gives him hope that pressure has increased not only on Washington to enact the Zadroga bill but also for the city to give further honors to responders like Ryan.

    "A sense of change is in the air," he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #633
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 Protest Hits Rep. Frank Pallone

    By Michael McAuliff

    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #634
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    Jan 2005
    Rally: U.S. must pay post-9/11 doctor bills
    Protest outside Rep. Pallone's Long Branch office pushes for vote on bill


    LONG BRANCH — Disgraceful. A tragedy. These were just some of the sentiments voiced Monday by community members who came to support 9/11 responders and their families seeking to pressure Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., to post a bill that would pay their medical bills.

    More than 50 people gathered on the sidewalk in front of Pallone's office on Broadway, chanting "move our bill, move our bill, move our bill." Pallone is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, where the The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, also known as HR-847, awaits action.

    "It is a disgrace," said Anne Marie Baumann, whose husband is a New York City police officer disabled by post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments related to his work at Ground Zero. She held up a photograph wrapped in plastic and pointed to Brian McCaully, another police officer who was in his 30s but who died Sunday night of complications related to cancer brought on by his work at the terrorist-attack site. "These people came to help. It is a disgrace," said Baumann. "It really is. Brian's family lost their retirement, they lost everything to support their son."

    Even with insurance, co-pays can be impossible to manage, Baumann said. For others, there is not even that.

    If approved in Pallone's subcommittee, the bill could go to the full House for consideration. The act was named for late New York City Detective James Zadroga, whose death in 2006 was among the first linked to the World Trade Center site. Zadroga's family lives in Little Egg Harbor.

    Protesters say Pallone will not make the bill a priority but the congressman said in an interview later that he is a supporter of it, that his delay is strategic: He only wants to make sure there are enough votes to approve the measure without last-minute amendments that could gut vital components, such as funding, or provisions that community members also be included in medical care.

    "There is no disagreement," said Pallone, who wasn't at the Long Branch office during the demonstration. "The bill should pass and I will get it passed."

    Pallone was unwilling to provide a date or a list of committee members who might not be supportive of the measure, saying they would be counterproductive.

    "Obviously, I"m very supportive of the bill and would like it to move as quickly as possible and I don't want it to fail," said Pallone of the bill estimated to cost $10 billion and $12 billion over 10 years.

    "I'm getting close," said Pallone of lobbying the subcommittee's approximate 40 members. "I've made a lot of progress in the last month." He noted some members seem disinclined to authorize a major entitlement program as they iron out the national health care program.

    Pallone said it is not a question of "if" he will post it but "when."

    Beachwood Mayor Ronald Jones attended the rally to express his support. He is the author of a resolution endorsed last November by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities supporting adoption of HR-847.

    "No greater act of Congress could express the gratitude of the United States of America to those who entered a virtual 'war zone' without hesitation," reads the resolution.

    Like so many others, Jones donned a light green rain poncho to brave the pounding rain and howling wind Monday. They said most of their rallies have been conducted in the rain.

    "They are tears from heaven," said John Feal of New York, founder of the Feal Good Foundation, who as a demolition supervisor lost half a foot to a crushing accident at Ground Zero and now suffers from breathing problems.

    He urged Pallone to do what is "morally right, not what the leadership tells you to do," and said he would meet him anywhere to debate the issue.

    "They don't think we're serious," Feal said. "Today we make a stand."

    "I can literally wring out my pants but that is a small price to pay compared to these people who are paying with their lives and their family's well-being," said Jo Schloeder of Wall, who said she has no connection to the 9/11 responders. "I'm just an American citizen and I think every American citizen should find it tragic. . . . When these people went to serve for days and weeks, they didn't stop to check first" how their medical bills would be paid. "They just did their duty."

    The Feal Good Foundation, the New York City Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation Inc. and 9/11 Police Aid Foundation, representing first responders, blue-collar workers who assisted in the recovery operation, and widows, gathered yesterday in Long Branch. They say more than 300 have died from complications associated with the so-called "World Trade Center Cough" and other ailments.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #635
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    Jan 2005
    Protesters call on Pallone to move bill to help Ground Zero first responders

    By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS • January 25, 2010

    LONG BRANCH — Firefighters, police and widows of those called to respond to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks protested outside U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.'s office here Monday, wanting to know why Congress will not make it a priority to act on a bill to pay medical bills for those whose lives were upended that day almost a decade ago.

    Some 50-plus area supporters of the bill braved a pounding rain and howling wind to demonstrate peacefully in front of the district offices of Pallone, the son of a retired police officer and chairman of the House Health Subcommittee.

    Pallone, a Democrat, has the power to bring The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to a vote in his committee, which could then send it to the full House for consideration. The act was named for late New York City Det. James Zadroga, whose death in 2006 was linked to fumes he breathed in working at the World Trade Center site. Zadroga's family lives in Little Egg Harbor.

    First responders and their families who came to Long Branch today say they have waited long enough, as those present chanted "move our bill, move our bill, move our bill."

    "I think it is a complete disgrace that these people who came to our rescue in our darkest hour are now being cast aside," said Jo Schloeder of Wall.

    In a telephone interview later, Pallone described himself as an avid supporter of the first responders. He said subcommittee members may not be sharing completely with 9/11 advocates how they feel about the bill: while a staff member may report to a caller that the legislator supports a bill to benefit 9/11 workers, in committee meetings, the legislators may express reservations or may propose amendments that could gut the bill, such as passing the bill but without funding which would require a legislator to seek annual appropriations, which is how the issue is currently handled.

    Pallone said he will post the bill when he has sufficient support to defeat any proposed amendments. "There is no disagreement," said Pallone. "The bill should pass and I will get it passed."

    One of those protesting Monday was John Feal, a U.S. Army veteran, was a 43-year-old demolition supervisor when he responded to the World Trade Center site, the largest recovery operation in U.S. history. On Sept. 17, 2001, his foot was crushed when an 8-ton steel beam crashed down on it. Feal became an advocate for those whose lives were similarly affected by the attacks but were too sick, too weak or too broke to speak out.

    With Anne Marie Baumann, the wife of a New York City police officer disabled by 9/11, they founded the Feal Good Foundation to provide support, lobby for relief and sometimes just to buy groceries so a 9/11 family could eat for a few days.

    Feal said he has spoken to Pallone and he seems too busy with other priorities like the national health care bill to move the 9/11 bill for a vote, and that Pallone's priorities have been set by those over his head, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    But this is not the time to waver, said Feal.

    "I issue a challenge to Congressman Pallone to do what is morally right, not what leadership tells him to do," said Feal, noting that even for those responders who have insurance, their co-pays are driving them to bankruptcy, with some taking upwards of 30 medicines a day to treat the so-called "World Trade Center Cough" and other ailments.

    "They don't think we're serious," Feal said with incredulity.

    At an April 22 public hearing on the bill, HR-847, Pallone said 9/11 sicknesses and how to pay for treating them was a nationwide problem, and that the clinic in his district -- the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment program -- was established in 2003 and was treating some 1,370 patients.

    Even President Barack Obama in a Nov. 29, 2009, letter to Feal expressed his support that the nation should care for such workers. But previous versions of the bill never got out of committee and after a meeting and telephone conversations with Pallone, advocates aren't too confident about this one.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #636
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 responders urge action on benefits bill
    Ralliers press Pallone to move bill out of committee

    BY KENNY WALTER Staff Writer

    Despite the driving rain, more than 30 people rallied in front of Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.’s Long Branch office Monday to urge the congressman to move forward with a bill that would guarantee extended health care for 9/11 first responders and people who worked and lived near the World Trade Center.

    Injured or ailing 9/11 first responders and supporters stood in a drenching rain to rally in front of Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.’s Long Branch office Monday.

    KENNY WALTER The rally, organized by the Fealgood Foundation, urged the 6th District Democrat to move the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act (H.R. 847) out of committee to a floor vote in Congress.

    “We are not deterred by the rain,” said John Feal, rally organizer and president and founder of the foundation. “We’ve been rained on for years.

    “This is 800-plus 9/11 first responders in heaven crying on us today. We simply want a mark-up date. We will rally again and the sun will shine.”

    Feal explained in an interview what the foundation’s mission is.

    “At the end of 2005 I started the Feal- Good Foundation,” he said. “We do fundraisers and donate financial assistance, and we also advocate for 9/11 responders.”

    According to the website, the foundation’s primary mission is to spread awareness and educate the public about the catastrophic health effects experienced by 9/11 first responders. In addition, the foundation provides assistance “to relieve these great heroes of the financial burdens placed on them.”

    A secondary goal of the foundation is to create a network of advocacy on 9/11 health care issues.

    “We not only advocate for ground zero workers, but show others how they can advocate for themselves and help others through grassroots activism,” the website states.

    Feal is one of those injured 9/11 responders. After spending five days at ground zero, his left foot was crushed by 8,000 pounds of steel and he lost half of his foot.

    “I’ve had multiple surgeries, all the way up to 2006, on both feet,” he added. “I had to fight for benefits. Those couple of years after I got hurt, physical and mental therapy are what saved my life.”

    At the Jan. 25 rally, Feal explained that the foundation is advocating for Pallone to bring the bill to a vote by members of the House Subcommittee on Health, which Pallone chairs.

    “A mark-up date is a date where the bill would go to the congressman’s committee,” he said. “One part of the bill already went through the Judiciary Committee.

    “Congressman Pallone’s committee is the final step before the bill goes to the floor for a vote and to get it out of [the House of Representatives] and into the Senate,” he added.

    In an interview last week, Pallone said there aren’t enough favorable votes to move the bill forward. But Feal disagreed.

    “The yes votes outnumber the no votes,” he said. “We know for a fact that he has the support of his committee for this vote.

    “We want leadership and we want a mark-up date,” he said at the rally.

    Feal was joined at the rally by Gary White, of the 9/11 Police Aid Foundation, and Kenny Specht, of the New York City Firefighters Brotherhood Foundation.

    Specht said the bill would cover more than 30,000 people. He also claims that Pallone has enough votes to move forward with

    “One hundred percent of us want care, and we cannot get it,” he said. “Twenty votes are needed, and we have 26.

    “Unfortunately, we are out here today … we have to remind this man that 26 is six more than what is necessary. There is no reason for us to be out here.”

    White concurred.

    “They are sick, they are dying,” he said. “We have enough votes. Twenty votes are necessary, and we have 26.”

    However, in an interview last week, Pallone said he isn’t sure there are enough votes to move the bill out of committee.

    “I’m trying to get the votes for the bill, but I’m not there yet,” he said. “Some of the members have problems because they don’t like entitlements.

    “The cost of this is approximately $10 billion over 10 years,” he added. “We have to come up with a way to pay for that, which means a new tax.

    “Some of the members are also concerned with the community part; they don’t mind providing the money to the first responders, but they don’t necessarily want to give an entitlement to the people that were working there or live down there,” he continued.

    Pallone explained what the current health care system provides for 9/11 responders.

    “Basically right now if you were a first responder at the World Trade Center or someone who lived or worked in Lower Manhattan, you can get health care and go to a clinic that the federal government set up in various places,” he said. “There is one in the Busch Campus at Rutgers and there are several in New York.

    “Anything that is health-related, you get free health care and it’s paid by the federal government,” he added.

    Pallone explained the changes under the proposed bill.

    “What this bill does is say that it is an entitlement,” he said. “Right now we vote the money every year, just like what we do with the veterans’ clinic.

    “We have provided the funding and we have provided care, but what they want this to be is a permanent entitlement, meaning they are guaranteed this care for the rest of their lives, and we don’t have to vote on this every year,” Pallone said. “I’m in favor of that.

    “We are getting there, and I think eventually we will have the votes and we will be able to post the bill,” he said. “I don’t want to bring the bill up and have it defeated or have it amended.”

    Feal explained the progress of the bill so far.

    “In June the Judiciary Committee marked up one half of our bill, the compensation part, with a vote of 22-9,” he said. “That vote was supposed to be a lot closer, but I filled that committee room with 9/11 responders.

    “In September he [Pallone] said he’d mark up our bill, and he never did, and in December he said it again and he never did,” he continued. “We were told we had to take a back seat to the national health care bill; we understood that, but we weren’t happy.”

    According to Feal, the primary issue is that there are a lot of people suffering from not only injuries, but also severe illnesses.

    “You can’t see all the illnesses in these men and women that are sick and dying,” he said. “This is a national crime against humanity, and those in power have responsibilities.”

    Pallone said he has worked with the Fealgood Foundation for years and understands their position.

    “They’re not happy,” he said. “They want the bill voted on immediately.

    “Their fear is that 10 or 20 years from now they are going to have more problems and it is going to be harder for them to be activists.

    “It’s legitimate, but we’ve got to make sure we have the votes.”

    Feal said he will continue pushing for the mark-up, and if that is achieved, he will give Pallone credit.

    “I expect him to give us a mark-up date,” he said. “I told his office if he gives us a mark-up date before the [Jan.] 25th, I would turn that rally into a press conference, I will hold his hand, and he will be our champion. I will make the man like Elvis in the 9/11 community.”

    Feal said the foundation and its supporters will not give up the effort to move the bill out of committee and to a vote.

    “If he doesn’t mark it up, then we are going to [rally] again in the near future,” he added.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #637
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    Jan 2005
    Obama Admin. Opposes 9/11 Health Funding

    By Michael McAuliff

    The Obama administration stunned New York’s delegation yesterday, dropping the bombshell news that it does not support funding the 9/11 health bill.

    The state’s two senators and 14 House members met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just hours before President Obama implored in his speech to the nation for Congress to come together and deliver a government that delivers on its promises to the American people.

    So the legislators were floored to learn the Democratic administration does not want to deliver for the tens of thousands of people who sacrificed after 9/11, and the untold numbers now getting sick.

    “I was stunned — and very disappointed,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who like most of the other legislators had expected more of a discussion on how to more forward.

    “To say the least, I was flabbergasted,” said Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon.

    The 9/11 bill would spend about $11 billion over 30 years to care for the growing numbers of people getting sick from their service at Ground Zero, and to compensate families for their losses.

    The legislators were shocked the idea was falling lower on the administration priority list than other parts of the war on terror and financial bailouts.

    “She made it clear that the administration does not support any kind of funding mechanism that goes into the bill,” said Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel.

    “I think it’s fiscal restraint… but you know what? They find money for everything else, they need to find money for this,” Engel said. “We were attacked because we’re a symbol of our country.”

    McMahon was furious that caring for the heroes of Sept. 11 would take a back seat to anything but military funding.

    “I thought there was a complete lack of understanding of the issue by the secretary and quite frankly, I did not expect that lack of compassion and failure to understand the urgency of the issue.”

    Victims and advocates of 9/11 families are similarly stunned.

    Lorie Van Auken, whose husband died on 9/11 and who supports the White House in its push to try the terrorists in New York, was crestfallen at the news.

    “I thought that these people would be taken care of. I would have expected better from this administration,” Van Auken said, adding that she thought it sends the wrong message to all of America’s would-be heroes that the government won’t be there for them.

    “These people put their lives on the line to help people who live here and who were in danger, and now the government doesn’t want to support them,” Van Auken said. “What happens in the future when something else happens? Are people going to say, ‘No, sorry, I’m not going to help?’”

    The legislators did hold out hope, though. McMahon and others said they would appeal to the President to consider adding 9/11 money to the list of mandatory items, rather than discretionary measures subject to the White House planned budget freeze.

    Health and Human Servicices officials and the White House did not have an immediate response.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #638
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    Jan 2005
    Team Obama to double budget for treating 9/11 responders in an amazing same-day U-turn

    By Michael Mcauliff
    Thursday, January 28th 2010, 9:38 PM

    WASHINGTON - The White House suddenly boosted funding for ailing 9/11 responders yesterday - pumping more government money into the treatment program than ever before.

    Team Obama ponied up the cash only after outraging New York lawmakers with the news the administration won't back a permanent plan to help the dying Ground Zero responders.

    The White House confirmed it will more than double the budget for treating ill responders to $150 million in 2011.

    The abrupt reversal came after the Daily News revealed New York lawmakers were shocked Wednesday when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the administration does not support an $11 billion permanent treatment plan.

    "I was stunned - and very disappointed," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

    "To say the least, I was flabbergasted," added Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon.

    Family members were also infuriated by the lack of permanent support. "I thought that these people would be taken care of. I would have expected better from this administration," said Lorie Van Auken.

    The delegation hopes President Obama will reconsider and put victims of the terror strike on a footing close to wounded soldiers, perhaps even funding the 9/11 health bill with the military.

    "We are focused on strengthening the World Trade Center Health program and providing needed resources through the budget, and this administration will continue to be a strong partner to the New York delegation," said White House spokeswoman Moira Mack.

    New York legislators were thrilled to learn of the one-year funding boost. "I am so pleased the administration heard the concerns of my colleagues and I," said McMahon, praising the belated payout during a tough budget.

    But lawmakers still believe a permanent fix needs to be made so responders don't have to go hat in hand every new budget and political cycle.

    "Sebelius made it clear that the administration does not support any kind of funding mechanism that's built into the bill," said Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel. "They find money for everything else, they need to find money for this."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #639
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Wife of late 9/11 firefighter John McNamara 'heartbroken' over Obama's lack of support for plan

    BY Michael Mcauliff
    Sunday, January 31st 2010, 4:00 AM

    WASHINGTON - Jennifer McNamara wants to honor her late husband's dying wish and give the city firefighter's badge to President Obama.

    Only, she's no longer sure she should.

    Or that John McNamara, who spent 500 hours at Ground Zero and died last August of cancer at the age of 44, would think Obama still deserves it.

    Her problem: She and her husband believed in the President, voted for him, and believed he would ensure the feds passed a law to permanently care for others who answered the call after 9/11.

    She began having doubts in December, when key politicians backed away from promises to pass the funding. She went to the Daily News for help reaching the White House to explain her agonizing dilemma.

    "I wish he would just support this," McNamara said of the President. "Then I could give him the badge in good conscience. I'd like to know that it's meaningful to him."

    It means everything to her.

    "There's something sacred about the badge to me. It shows that he achieved something in his life," she said. "He would disagree with this, but it shows he became a hero, that he dedicated his life to saving other people, to protecting our nation."

    Jennifer learned Thursday the White House plans to spend $150 million on 9/11-related illness next year - a good thing, she said.

    But the Obama administration doesn't support mandatory funding of an $11 billion, 30-year plan stalled in Congress that would guarantee care to all of the 60,000 people being monitored for potential illness.

    "I'm really so disgusted. I'm so disappointed," she said. "I'm heartbroken because I think of how John would have reacted to this."

    John wanted that bill passed not so much for firefighters, who have medical care, but for the volunteers, construction workers and other workers who do not.

    "This is his biggest issue," McNamara said. "When he was at Sloan[-Kettering], he walked the halls looking for other 9/11 responders so he could talk to them, looking for ways to help," she remembered. "That's just who he was. He cared passionately about people."

    While he was dying, he drew up a list of last wishes, even as he believed he could beat the disease and see his son, Jack, now 3, grow to be a good man.

    "His last wish was he never wanted me to use the list," his wife, 42, said. "He wanted to live."

    But he did not, and the Fire Department granted him a Trade Center pension a month later.

    Some of his other wishes hint at the kind of man he was. He asked his wife, a lawyer, to get a community center built for the kids in his hometown of Blue Point, L.I.

    He wanted Jennifer to scatter some of his ashes in Key Largo, Fla., Ireland, the Dallas Cowboys' stadium, Disneyland and Yankee Stadium - all places important to him.

    His wife is working on all of them.

    "He didn't give me a deadline," said the widow, who wears a tiny pouch of his ashes around her neck, the fulfillment of another final request.

    But the simple, powerful gift of his badge to the President may be beyond her.

    "It is the one thing on my list of John's that he asked me to do that, unless there is a change in the administration's position, that I will not," she said.

    She still holds out hope, and the White House reaffirmed support for 9/11 families Saturday. She has a hard time imagining that a man like Obama worries more about the cost of helping the people who responded to Sept. 11 than he does about the people.

    "My husband was an ardent supporter of his," she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "I don't know how I explain to my 3-year-old son that his President doesn't care about his father and others like him. How do you say that?"

    She hopes she doesn't have to.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #640
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Obama Ducks on 9/11 Bill, But Doesn't Say 'No'

    By Michael McAuliff

    President Obama admitted today he’s not up to speed on proposed legislation to care for ailing 9/11 responders, and he didn’t commit to fully backing the measure — but he didn’t say no, either, as his health secretary did last week.

    Obama was put on the spot over the 9/11 health issue — possibly for the first time — by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who raised the question during his meeting with Democratic senators this morning.

    “Would you, today, commit to working with Congress to pass a comprehensive 9/11 health bill that’s fully paid for?” Gillibrand asked the commander in chief.

    “I fully commit to working with you guys,” Obama answered, giving an affirmative at least to the first part of the question.

    “Keep in mind, that our budget already significantly increased funding precisely for this purpose, so I’m not just talking the talk — we’ve been budgeting this as a top priority for the administration,” he said, referring to plans to spend $150 million on 9/11 treatment next year — more than double the last Bush administration budget.

    But Obama also hedged on the $11 billion bill that would feature mandatory federal funding for ill responders for 30 years.

    “I confess, Kristen, I have not looked at all the details of your legislation,” he said, misspeaking her name.

    “I know that not only you and Chuck [Schumer], but everybody here, wants to make sure that those who showed such extraordinary courage and heroism during 9/11, that they are fittingly cared for, and that’s going to be something that we are going to be very interested in working with you on.”

    The definition of fitting is what New York lawmakers are fighting the administration over.

    Many of them were stunned last week when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told them in a meeting that the administration did not support the mandatory funding scheme in the legislation that’s been stalled in Congress for years.

    Advocates for the heroes of 9/11 want the mandatory funding to make sure that future leaders who are less sympathetic do not cut the program.

    Gillibrand made the argument for the bill in her question, noting that people ill from 9/11 are spread across the country.

    “These Americans hail from every one of the 50 states,” Gillibrand noted. “Now because of exposure to toxins from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, there are about 20,000 people who are sick. Some of them are gravely ill, suffering serious health effects. Some are disabled. Some have died.”

    We suspect many responders will be angry Obama didn’t go all in. But we also suspect legislators will see his answer in a more hopeful way, since he was not as adamant as Sebelius, thereby leaving the door open.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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