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$52.5 million OK'd For 9/11 First Responders

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Joint House and Senate Conference Committee has approved an additional $52.5 million in federal funding to address the mounting health care needs reaching beyond first responders and rescue workers to area residents, office and commercial workers, students, and other individuals who were exposed to environmental hazards as a result of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

The funding comes in addition to the $50 million that was provided in the recent Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill and was included in the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Bill. That bill also expanded assistance to lower Manhattan residents, World Trade Center employees and volunteers.

The bi-partisan effort included senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Robert Menendez, along with Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, and Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island).

The bill must be approved by both chambers of Congress before the president can sign it into law.

Specifically, the monies will go toward screening, monitoring and treatment activities administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help those who were exposed to the environmental toxins and hazards released on and after 9/11.

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