December 21st, 2010
07:30 PM ET

9/11 first responders urge passage of health benefits bill

CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - A group of 9/11 first responders joined lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday to urge the Senate passage of a health care bill meant to provide free medical treatment to those suffering from the health effects of working in and near ground zero following the 2001 attacks.

"Fourteen of our guys died that day and we continue to see our friends die on a day-to-day basis," said Glen Klein, a New York police officer who said he is sick with lung disease. "We're asking for the right to live."

In the years following the attacks, health experts have noted respiratory and mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, in those who engaged in ground zero rescue and cleanup efforts.

"Apparently we have some senators who would like to believe that when 343 fire officers and firefighters [and thousands of civilians and police officers] died on 9-11...that was the end of it," said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

"If that were true, we could move on."

The bill has been in legislative limbo since Thursday, when Senate Democrats failed to win a procedural vote to open debate on it.

But on Sunday, Democrats said they were hopeful they had pulled off "a Christmas miracle" by changing the bill enough to garner Republican support.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. gene eng

    Kill the Zadroga Bill! I am here to expose the 911 First Responder Bill is nothing more than a Federally funded social welfare bill for NYS Trade Unions of all kinds. This is being used by both NYS Senators and Mayor Bloomberg as down payments for their future political elections (the latter will run for NYS Governor in 4 years). This is nothing more than a political MOB tax that politicians trying to fleece on American Tax payers. Fact #1: All the first responders (particularly all Trade Union Workers) have gotten a stretch of extremely well compensated time for their works during 911 (1-1/2 times overtime and double pay for Sunday). Everyone involved had gotten very fat paid checks while the Nation grief. Fact # 2: NYS Pensions system favors the first responders that they could cash 80% of last year’s salaries as their permanent pension payment. There were many, many first responders made over $ 200k in one year after 911 and they retired. Now, through their unions, they wanted the tax payers to pay for their healthcares so that Unions do not need to carry such a burden, since the Trade Unions in NYS are broke and soon to be broke!!! America!! You are being fooled again, by the Liberals and by the Unions again! Wake up America!!!.

    December 22, 2010 at 3:42 am |
  2. Constance

    This particular group of elected Republicans have repeatedly re-enforced that this congress is no longer a legitimate part of democracy for the people. To say we might not be able to fund the health care of the 9/11 heroes when the GOP just demanded unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy is beyond outrageous; it's another clear announcement of their non-allegiance to the citizens of this country. In any other country, this would be called a coup.

    December 22, 2010 at 2:47 am |
  3. Tony

    As a veteran I completly understand the need to provide care to those who sacrafice dearly to our country. That being said, agreeing to pass a bill, simply on its merrit, at this time, is irresponsable. Our debt dosent come from one onetrillion dollar debt but many billion, million and hundred thousand dollar debts. those who sacrafice for our country know all too well that inorder to maintain our sacrafices lagitimacy we must maintain our country. I belive , now more then ever, fiscal responsiblity is crucial to maintaining our country.

    December 22, 2010 at 1:22 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    This man is a disgrace to his party and to his MD qualification.
    Nothing he says is fair or reasonable and he does not even attend his own committees meetings.
    He is full of garbage if funding is a problem as well since his party has pledged to cut $100bn from government spending that can pay for it.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:32 am |
  5. Ron

    Opponents to passing the 9/11 health bill argue that it cannot be done because they do not know where the money would come from to pay for it. These same politicians did not hesitate to push for and pass legislation giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest with no consideration of how that would be paid for.

    The twisted charge that proponents of this bill are trying to "rush" poorly written legislation through at the last hour without proper debate is just that, "twisted." 9/11 happened 9 years ago. First responders with serious resultant health issues have been asking for help for years. How long must they wait?

    This is partisan campaigning at its worst. The 9/11 first responders who have needed assistance with very serious health issues and associated bills need help now. We cannot allow such shameful behavior to prevent us from doing the right thing.

    As an American, I am ashamed of the "NO" attitude of these obstructionist politicians. They do not come close to representing what has always been great about America.

    December 21, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  6. charlotte Cohen

    How could you let Dana Loesch claim that this legislation is not paid for? It certainly is. Ask Senator Gillibrand who has been explaining it all day.

    December 21, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  7. David in KC

    I saw your piece on the first responders tonight. I do not understand why you cannot find someone on the Dem. side who is informed and articulate on the subject. It is obvious that any Rep. are better speakers. they can speak, long and loud on any subject. they have better talking points. But they are not always good on facts. In this case the funding has been covered by offshore business products imports. But, if you just allow them to continue talking without challenging them, they will prevail.

    David in KC

    December 21, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  8. John

    Just heard your debate concerning the funding of the health care bill for the 1st responders and Dr. No's attempt to block the legislation because of apparently how it would be paid for. The republicans were gitty to have the tax cuts for the top 2% extended and a $68 billion dollar estate tax cut for 39,000 wealthy estates without paying for either. Yet, they complain about a $6 billion dollar bill to help thousands of 1st responders and their families with their respective health problems. This is republican hypocricy at its finest. To extend $120 billion for the wealthy and $68 billion for wealthy estates, neither of which improve the economy or reduce unemployment, while denying $6 billion dollar for the health care for the 1st responders is outright immoral. One more thing, I have seen Dana Loesh the tea party activist and like most of the tea partiers, she toes the right wing party line. Her face always turns red when she's challanged on her views. I wouldn't be surprised to find her spearing Sarah Palin's presidential run, because she's one of the best spin doctors on the far right. If Sarah decides to run, Dana Loesh is her girl. A match made in heaven.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  9. mike fitzgerald

    Tom Colburn tried the same tactic with the ALS registry. He's a doctor, did he ever hear of the hippocratic oath? He puts the medical professionals to shame.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  10. brian

    i was just watching 360 and heard the reason first responders can't get the republican to give them health care and find it so ironic that the bush tax cut was not paid for and it had to be extended for the rich in order for anything else to dealt with, so dont pay for tax cuts for the rich just give it to them and don't give the people who actually need medical care for helping in a time of distress anything cause there is no money that's republican and taking a hint from the last from the elections that's america.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  11. Scott Kriger

    Next time there is an international disaster, how about we give 14 billion $ vs 20 billion dollars to a nation in need from what ever fund it is that this funded money comes from?

    December 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  12. Ken

    This needs to be passed!! It's been ten years!!

    December 21, 2010 at 9:47 pm |