Letter to the Editor – James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act
By United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
December 22, 2010
Two weeks ago, it looked like the US Senate was going to turn its back on the thousands of first responders who risked their lives to help the victims of 9/11 and are currently sick and dying as a result of their heroism. A group of Senate Republicans organized a filibuster and refused to pass a bill that would provide these heroes with the health care they need and deserve.
But now, I’m happy to report that we've had a true Christmas miracle.
Today, the Senate passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, which will provide health care and compensation to the first responders and community survivors who are suffering from illnesses caused by exposure to toxic debris from the fallen towers.
Many of us felt deeply that this bill was the right thing to do, but there were some who insisted on playing politics with the lives of 9/11 heroes. Thankfully, Americans from across the country made their voices heard.
This is not a partisan issue. Senators on both sides of the aisle wanted to fulfill our nation's obligation to these people and in the end, that is what we did. This is a true bipartisan success story.
How fitting that this bill – which is all about people helping others in time of need – would be passed during the week of Christmas. I’m proud to have been a part of this effort. I am so thankful to my colleagues and so many others who helped make this happen, and I am thrilled that these heroes and their families will now have the treatment and security they need during this difficult time.