House passes bill on 9/11 first responders

October 3, 2010 9:16am CST [i]Washington (CNN) -- A bill to provide medical benefits and compensation for emergency workers who were first on the scene of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks won approval Wednesday from the U.S. House. The measure passed on a mostly partisan 268-160 vote. The Senate has yet to take up the issue. President Barack Obama, who supported the measure, hailed its passage. "It is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks," he said in a statement. "I applaud the House for its support of this bill and for standing up on behalf of these heroes, who served our country in its time of greatest need. I look forward to Congress completing consideration of this legislation so I can sign it into law." Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, called the passage a "long overdue victory." "To the living heroes and heroines of 9/11, we have very good news," she said. "Help is on the way. We passed your bill in the House of Representatives." Fellow New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler said he was "extremely emotional" over the win. "We won a major victory today, and I am overjoyed," he said. "Today, we put aside a little politics and we did a little right and a little good." Republicans had complained the $7.4 billion price tag was too high, while Democrats said the government had an obligation to help the first responders to the deadliest terrorism attack in U.S. history. But New York Republican Rep. Peter King was a strong backer of the measure and stood by Maloney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as they celebrated the House win. "What we did was what we had to do," King said, addressing the dozens of first responders who joined the representatives around the podium. "What you did was what you volunteered to do." "It took a long time, and I'm sorry for that," he said, adding "you can finally get justice after all these years." Republicans blocked the bill in July after Democrats suspended the rules to stop the minority party from adding unrelated amendments. The move also meant the bill would require a two-thirds majority to pass, and Republicans used it to their advantage, holding the bill to 255 yes votes -- far fewer than the 291 it needed to pass, though far more than it ordinarily would have needed. Maloney and the other New Yorkers have been working since for a majority vote. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill -- named after a deceased New York Police Department detective -- seeks to provide free medical coverage for responders and survivors who were exposed to toxins after the attacks. A coroner linked Zadroga's death in January 2006 to respiratory failure caused by his work in the toxic plume at ground zero. Zadroga was 34.[/i] What are your opinions regarding this bill? Do you agree with most of the Republican Representatives in regards to this being another "expensive, big-government entitlement program" or do you side with most of the Democrat Representatives that argue that this is a "moral obligation"?
4 responses
@Netsbridge (3242)
• United States
7 Oct 10
I believe that when a nation intentionally subjects people to inhumane and abominable acts, then it should shoulder the burden of any financial damage incur by the sufferers. I am sure that several politicians said the same thing about the compensation for victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment and the Plutonium experiments. And while documented facts show that the dust of the World Trade Towers was infested with asbestos, resulting in sicknesses and deaths of several people, there are still some people (mostly so-called conservatives) who continue to deny these facts and come up with crazy arguments to back their distorted views. I guess accepting that all these are facts would mean coming to terms with several other nasty facts on these matters!
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
4 Oct 10
The first responder need to be taken care of. Not understanding the logic of the GOP congressmen that voted against the 7.4 billion but are the same that voted to spend a trillion dollars to fund two wars. Can't afford to take care of the 9/11 first responder but we can afford to invade two countries?
@TTCCWW (579)
• United States
3 Oct 10
This, to me, is the same as these politicians claiming they support out troups and then will not fund their medical treatment and hold back funding for ten years. You know, "The Real Americans", as they call themselves.
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
3 Oct 10
I believe that the Folks that were there at Ground Zero deserve all the medical assistance that they need. I do wonder how they arrived at that amount of money though. It does seem a little over the top. I also wonder what the ammendments are. Folks always want to tag extra things onto every bill that gets passed. I wonder what these are. I will have to check that out. Shalom~Adoniah