Today, AALDEF called for Senate passage of The James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (H.R. 847). President Obama has made a commitment to sign the bill if the Senate passes it intact before the end of December.
This legislation would fund for 10 years clinical programs that currently screen, treat, track, and study 9-11 first responders from all 50 states, including survivors now residing in 23 states. Most survivors live or work in Lower Manhattan, including Chinatown and the Lower East Side. H.R. 847 passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in September, because no additional costs would be added to the federal deficit. (More information about the House bill can be found here.)
AALDEF senior staff attorney Stanley Mark called on individuals to contact
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
to allow a Senate vote on H.R. 847 intact without amendments. He said, “All that
is needed now is a final Senate vote to secure urgently-needed health care for
thousands of 9-11 responders and survivors.” The Capitol switch number is
202-224-3121. Emails to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader
McConnell can be sent to:
Here’s a sample letter from 9/11 Environmental Action:
Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:
As the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847) is taken up by the Senate in
the current session, we urge you to exercise your strong leadership to ensure
its passage as written, undiminished in its scope and quality, and with the
strongest possible protections for the survivors of the terrorist attack on the
World Trade Center (WTC).
9/11 was an attack on our nation that targeted all of America. It is morally
imperative that our federal government provide WTC-specialized medical care for
all who are sick as a result of the disaster: residents, students, workers and
visitors, who now reside in 23 states-as well as the thousands of heroic
responders who came to our rescue from all over the country.
When terrorists destroyed the WTC, they unleashed an unprecedented environmental
catastrophe on a densely populated urban area. One million tons of pulverized
dust containing lead, asbestos and many other hazardous substances were released
into the air, covering every surface and penetrating into area buildings. Fires
at Ground Zero burned steadily for over four months, creating a toxic cloud
which hung over Lower Manhattan neighborhoods.
Nonetheless, the Environmental Protection Agency issued false assurances that
“the air is safe,” endangering the health of many people who then remained in or
returned to the zone of impact, unaware of the risks to themselves and their
children. The federal government bears responsibility for those who became sick
as the direct result of its failures to warn the public and to provide
contaminated areas with proper environmental cleanup.
For the thousands of heroic 9/11 responders and survivors who are already ill,
and for those who may develop WTC-related illnesses in the future, the 9/11
Health and Compensation Act creates a desperately-needed, federally-funded
medical program that will track and treat 9/11-related illnesses for the next
Nine years after the attack, we urge you to help make this just federal health
response to 9/11 a reality.