President Obama Signs 9/11 Health Bill
Did it really have to take 9 years for 9/11 first responders to get proper health coverage? Yes, it did.
During his family vacation in Hawaii yesterday (Sunday, Jan 2), President Obama inked is signature on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a legislation that allots $4.2 billion in coverage for those who helped clear the rubble and search for human remains at the site of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. The legislation also reopens the federal Victim Compensation Fund to provide economic relief to those harmed by the attacks, which killed more than 2,700 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Obama signed the bill during his Hawaiian vacation, with no signing ceremony held. In a statement issued later, the president said he was “honored” to sign the bill, which pays for health care for responders believed to have been sickened by pollution at the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York.
“We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who risked their lives to save others,” Obama said. “I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks.”
After a contentious battle in which some Republicans suggested the legislation was creating a new entitlement program, it finally passed during the lame-duck session of Congress in December. New York lawmakers hailed the bill’s signing.
“After a long, arduous path with several near-defeats, this bill is finally law,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York. “The heroes who rushed to Ground Zero in the hours and days after the attacks will not be forgotten. These first responders were like veterans, and this law keeps with a time-honored tradition of standing by our veterans when they get harmed answering the call. We will begin work immediately to make sure this law gets renewed for another five years.”
-Monique “Marvelous Mo” Balcarran