The House and the Senate have passed a compromise bill for the first responders to the 9/11 attacks. The bill is on its way to President Obama to sign into law.
The $4.2 billion bill will provide medical benefits and compensation to the firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel that immediately responded to the victims of the attacks. The bill has been the subject of controversy among the two parties for a multitude of tax reasons and fear of waste, as well as a scientific conundrum in proving that 9/11 toxins were the actual cause of certain illnesses.
CNN reports that New York Senator Chuck Schumer said the passing of the bill was a “great day” for the nation, especially for first responders who suffer from a variety of physical ailments after breathing in the toxins that were present at Ground Zero and are therefore in need of medical attention due to their courageous and heroic actions to help others as the World Trade Center Twin Towers were collapsing.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the Senate’s approval of the bill “affirms our nation’s commitment to protecting those who protect us all.â€
Do you think this bill being passed is a victory for the first responders?
In what is sure to frustrate those who gave their time and energy in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it appears that the $7.4 billion aid package designed to benefit workers who got sick from their efforts at Ground Zero is fading. On Wednesday, the Senate passed a tax-cut bill without the 9/11 legislation.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the those who supported the legislation, which would provide both health care and compensation to the people who fell ill after working at the World Trade Center Site after the 9/11 attacks, hoped to get it attached to the tax deal. But that did not happen.
Republicans apparently placed priority on the tax cut. Also, when the Senateâ€™s spending bill was revealed on Wednesday, the 9/11 legislation was conspicuously absent from the list. While the House already passed the measure, many politicos feel that the project is too costly and could become wasteful and/or fraudulent.
Those who were exposed to the dangerous dust and debris from the WTC site are currently receiving piecemeal, government-provided health monitoring. This particular legislation would turn the short-term, case-by-case care into a long-term program. President Obama is a supporter of the bill and has said he would sign it if passed.
The 9/11 health-care-for-aid-workers debate rages on. Â According toÂ NBC New York and The Associated Press, supporters of a bill that would offer health care aid to workers who came down with various illnesses after working in the wreckage of the World Trade Center are hoping to garner support by displaying the badges of 29 members of the NYPD who were immersed in rescue efforts and later died from 9/11-related sickness.
The badges were put on exhibit on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Monday.
The bill would provide free health care and compensation for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, who inhaled hazardous materials after the Twin Towers fell; workers subsequently suffered from ailments like asthma, sinuses and reduced lung capacity.
The bill passed the House during Congressâ€™ lame duck session, yet a cloud of scientific doubt hangs over the bill, though. Doctors arenâ€™t sure how many people are sick or how many of these illnesses are actually linked to the dust from Ground Zero.
Case in point: 34-year-old police detective James Zadroga, for whom the legislation is named. Some say he died from respiratory disease, which he contracted from working at Ground Zero; the NYC medical examiner posed a different theory, saying that Zadrogaâ€™s lung issues were the result of his abuse of prescription drugs.
Additionally, some Republicans oppose the bill, which would cost $7.4 billion over 10 years, deeming it a move that would increase taxes and eliminate jobs.
What is your opinion of this bill? Is it unfair to deny 9/11 rescue workers aid after they risked their lives to try and save others?
UPDATED:Developers of the Ground Zero mosque have recieved a green light from today’s Landmark status vote on 45-51 Park Place, the slated address of the Park51 mosque.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9-0 against granting landmark status to the former Burlington Coat Factory building, clearing the way for the Cordoba Initiative to develop their Park51 mosque.
The vote was seen as the biggest hurdle for the Cordoba initiative’s plans on building a Muslim community center 600 feet from the World Trade Center site.
However, according to the New York Post, should the vote clear the way for the dubbed “Ground Zero Mosque,” a lawsuit is set to be filed immediately against the landmark vote on behalf of 9/11 first responders.
“We believe the Landmarks Preservation Commission would have allowed politics and mayor’s fervent support for the project to replace the deliberative process,” said Jack Lester, an attorney for 9/11 responder Tim Brown according to the same article.
The next step for the developers would be to solidify the $100 million dollar price tag for construction costs. Imam Feisal Abdul Raif, one of the developers of the mosque is said to solicit funding from the Muslim communities, foundations as well as Muslim nations for funding.
How do you feel about granting the site landmark status? Should this stop the building of the mosque?