New York, NY - Today, U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, and Anthony Weiner announced a crucial vote in Congress this week for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, legislation that would provide comprehensive health care and compensation for those who are sick because of the 9/11 attacks. (Click here for a summary of the legislation.) Maloney, Nadler, and Weiner made the announcement at a press conference this afternoon at Ground Zero and were joined by Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy, Lieutenants Benevolent Association President Thomas Sullivan, and DC 37 Health and Safety Director Lee Clarke; as well as 9/11 contractors Rich Wood of Plaza Construction and Pat DiFilippo of Turner Construction; Catherine McVay Hughes of Manhattan Community Board 1; and 9/11 responders Det. John Walcott, Marvin Bethea, and Alex Sanchez.
The lawmakers announced that the legislation will be put to a vote this Tuesday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). The vote will be held starting at 10:00am in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. The markup process is expected to stretch into the late afternoon and can be viewed on the Internet through the House Energy and Commerce website: http://energycommerce.house.gov .
The House Energy and Commerce panel has jurisdiction over the Zadroga Act's provisions to expand and make permanent existing federal programs to provide medical monitoring for those exposed to toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, and treatment for 9/11-related illnesses and injuries. In March, the House Health Subcommittee approved those provisions with bipartisan support. Last July, the House Judiciary Committee approved also with bipartisan support the bill's provisions to reopen the federal Victim Compensation Fund.
"The Zadroga Act is gathering strong momentum in Congress, but Tuesday's vote will be the toughest we've faced so far," said Rep. Maloney. "Too many of those who are sick from 9/11 have suffered without help for too long - but we in the New York delegation haven't forgotten our promise to provide care for those who lost their health because of the attacks on America. It's truly the least we can do as a grateful nation."
"Tuesday's vote is a critical milestone in our eight-year struggle to provide justice to the responders and survivors who are sick because of their exposure to toxic dust after 9/11," said Congressman Nadler. "Through the patience and hard work of so many, we are making inroads in our fight to provide the health care and compensation that is due thousands. Let's bring the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to the House floor."
Rep. Engel said, "As the senior New York member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I look forward to shepherding this bill through the full Energy and Commerce Committee, just as I did through the Health Subcommittee. America has a moral imperative to help these heroes for the brave work they did that endangered their own health after the terrorist attacks of 9/11."
"As we approach the nine-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, first responders are still getting sick and dying because they aren't receiving the compensation and health care they need. On Tuesday, we will vote to change that," said Rep. Weiner.