9/11 Health Bill (H.R. 847) Clears Another Hurdle

This is not related to the legal settlement for Ground Zero workers and volunteers that was rejected last week.

by Mike Hall   source: AFL-CIO Blog    March 23, 2010

The nearly 60,000 rescue and recovery workers and community members whose health is at serious risk from their exposure to the contaminated and toxic rubble at the 2001 Ground Zero World Trade Center attacks are a step closer to receiving long-term medical care.

Yesterday the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health subcommittee approved by an overwhelming and bipartisan 25-8 vote the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847). The bill would establish a medical monitoring and treatment program for the Sept. 11 first responders and the community members at the site of the attacks.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y) one of the bill’s chief sponsors, along with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y), says that while progress has been “painfully slow,” today we are one important step closer to providing the brave responders and survivors of 9/11’s toxic aftermath the health care and compensation they need and deserve.

The Ground Zero rubble piles were a toxic mix of chemicals, jet fuel, asbestos, lead, glass fragments and other debris. The rescue workers who worked night and day to pull survivors and bodies from the rubble. those who spent months removing the debris as well as community residents, all were exposed and are now suffering the health consequences. Says Maloney:

We have a moral responsibility to care for those who lost their health because of the attacks on America–it’s simply the least this great nation can do.

Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, praised the committee’s action.

After eight-and-a-half years, our heroes can finally see the light an end of the tunnel. Today we are one step closer to realizing our goal. We will not step until the debt we owe our heroes has been paid back in full.

A vote by the full House will come later this year.

Earlier this week, a proposed settlement was reached for the more than 10,000 lawsuits by the rescue and recovery workers suffering serious illnesses caused by their Ground Zero exposure.

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