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The best people America has to offer have been getting sick and dying from their heroic efforts at the World Trad Center. As you can see from this recent Daily News front page, Mike Enzi is not the only Republican to tell the 9/11 first responders and heroes to drop dead.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that provides $3.2 billion for long-term health care for rescue and construction workers at Ground Zero, plus another $4.2 billion in compensation for others who were exposed to airborne toxins will be out of time once the Republicans control the House.
These heroes who answered the call for help on September 11, 2001 and the horrible weeks that followed have been pushing hard for justice before it is too late. After a barrage of local media coverage, multiple visits to Washington from Ground Zero worker, victim’s family members pleading with the Senate and a huge bipartisan effort from tri-state politicians, one Republican has signed on. The rest have voices disagreement with Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand’s method of financing healthcare for heroes. The cloture count is now at 59 and their big day in the Senate is tomorrow.
Now that there is some hope for a bill named after an NYPD detective who died at age 34 of a respiratory disease attributed to participation in the rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center, Mike Enzi is working hard to stop the bill from going forward. His reasoning is that the nation has already given enough.
Last night I heard Senator Gillibrand make a speech about people Republicans do not consider worthy of any compensation.
“Pearl Harbor was the deadliest attack on our nation, the most deadly attack, until the morning of September 11, 2001, when 3,000 innocent people perished and tens of thousands of people came to their rescue. In the days that followed the 9/11 attack, America showed the very same resolve that it showed nearly 60 years prior, and now we’ve seen thousands of heroes and thousands of survivors sick and dying from the toxins released at Ground Zero. It is time for us to show that very same resolve again. As President Roosevelt said, “No matter how long it will take us, we will win through to absolute victory.” We will provide the firefighters, the police officers, the construction workers, the cleanup workers and the people and the children who go to school and live at Ground Zero with the health care and compensation that they justly and rightly deserve. There are few things we do here in Washington that are clearly a choice between right and wrong. There is no gray area when it comes to this issue. We truly have a moral, an undeniable obligation to help these men and women.”
It was Rep. Carolyn Maloney who described the Republican effort to kill a bill to help the heroes of 9/11 as “a pack of lies.” That claim was in a New York Daily News Story last week, 9/11 victims fume as Sen. Mike Enzi, GOP circulate ‘pack of lies’ in bid to sink Zadroga health bill;
With the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on the verge of a Senate vote, GOP foes are circulating a document arguing Uncle Sam has paid back the ailing heroes.
Providing more aid would lead to fraud and abuse funded by “job-killing taxes,” the Republicans claimed.
The Republican think that 95% of the workers were provided for in the recent $625 million legal settlement and that’s plenty for them. The reality is that Republicans just don’t care.
That agreement only covers 10,000 people who sued, not the 30,000 people who received some form of treatment – let alone the estimated 90,000 people who rushed to the toxic scene.
“If these were legitimate concerns, why are Senate Republican leaders only raising them now, at the last minute, instead of years ago?” Maloney asked.
But it is not just New York Democrats who are disgusted with the Republican who feels the nation has already paid enough to 9/11 Heroes.
Long Island GOP Rep. Pete King, who was a sponsor of the House bill, slammed his Senate colleagues for being shortsighted, and looking at the bill as politics as usual instead of helping heroes who are dying.
He singled out Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, a Republican identified by many insiders as the lead opponent.
“Mike Enzi – yeah, he’s my favorite,” King said sarcastically. “I think it’s just the knee-jerk anti-New York feeling that a lot of people have. But in this case it hurts our country, and our party. I think if they really look at this, they’ll be for it.”
It’s really not about New Yorkers. When Mayor Bloomberg went to the Senate accompanied Ground Zero responders who came from across the nation his call for lawmakers to act 41 Republicans were not interested.
All of our senators represent someone who answered the call to help our country in its hour of need, and now those brave men and women need our senators to answer their call for help. Many of them are already struggling with health problems. Some are battling serious illnesses; others may have to confront them in the future. And while we can’t prevent anyone from contracting an illness, we can and must ensure sustained funding to treat those who are sick, or could become sick, to continue researching World Trade Center health effects, and to re-open the Victims’ Compensation Fund so that those who worked at Ground Zero and did not show such symptoms until after the Fund’s deadline passed, can receive fair and just compensation. We owe at least that much to the firefighters, police officers, construction workers, community members, and volunteers from across America who contributed to the heroic task of saving lives, and then clearing the debris from the World Trade Center.
I can understand how Republicans would be unable to grasp the concept of courageous acts. The Republican Senators who have trouble with the method of payment for courageous Americans, they are despicable. When several Representatives from the House sent a reminder to the Senate Republicans didn’t want to remember anything like courage.
On November 11, 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks and just a few blocks from the site of the Twin Towers, then President George W. Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly, telling the world, “Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” Nine years have passed since President Bush spoke these words. We ask that the responders and survivors of 9/11 who came to the aid of our country in a time of need and now are sick be remembered and be honored. They should not have to wait any longer for Congress to act.
Ignoring the call of workers and community organizers from across the nation while showing no interest in a widow of one of the fallen first responder making an impassioned plea because there is nothing in it for them. That is what most expect from Republicans.
But this Mike Enzi who thinks the nation has paid enough? I want to know where he was on that Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001 when firefighters raced to New York City and iron workers walked off their jobs to drive thousands of miles so they could help. What sort of American thinks we have already paid enough?