A bill backed by New York lawmakers to give federal benefits to people sickened by toxins at Ground Zero won approval yesterday in a key committee vote.
“This is the least we can do,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which OK’d health care and financial compensation for ailments contracted in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
“We cannot help those that are already lost, but we can help the thousands who are sick,” Engel said. “We must do what is right and show them that their selflessness is shared by the rest of the nation.”
Mayor Bloomberg said, “It’s only fitting that we take care of those who survived the attacks, and those who risked their lives to save others.”
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, named for an NYPD detective who died after inhaling toxic dust at Ground Zero, is expected to win passage from the full House.
“It’s a great step forward. Hopefully, when it goes to a full vote, the politicians will recognize our suffering and our work won’t be forgotten,” said retired NYPD Detective John Walcott, who developed leukemia in 2003, at age 38.
“The only negative thing is it took eight years,” said Walcott, who spent months working in the rubble.
(Source: NY Post)