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Posted at 1:01 PM ET, 12/22/2010

9/11 bill passes Senate, House in final hours of lame-duck session

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 5:40 p.m.

After a years-long battle and a bout of last-minute opposition by Senate Republicans, the House on Wednesday passed a bill that would provide $4.2 billion in compensation and long-term health-care benefits for first responders who became ill from working at Ground Zero in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, sending the measure on to President Obama for his signature.

The bill passed Wednesday evening by a vote of 206 to 60 after House leaders had held open the vote for more than an hour, presumably for members who were still hustling to make their way over to the Capitol on the final day of the 111th Congress' lame-duck session.

Missing Wednesday's vote were nearly 170 House members, 100 more than had been missing in action for the previous day's votes. Thirty Republicans had joined all but one Democrat, Mississippi's Gene Taylor, in supporting the measure.

The House vote came hours after the Senate passed the bill by unanimous voice vote.

New York Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D), Carolyn Maloney (D) and Peter King (R), who sponsored the House version of the bill, were seen exiting the Senate after the bill passed the upper chamber earlier Wednesday. The trio paused to take a photo together just outside of the Senate chamber, then headed toward the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ahead of the House vote.

"We are thrilled. It's been seven years since Jerry and I introduced the first bill. We've had 22 hearings. It's been a labor of purpose, a labor of love," Maloney said. "All I wanted for Christmas was the passage of this bill, and that's what I got."

"It's been nine years since the heroes rushed in to try to save people's lives. Today, the United States redeems its honor," Nadler said. "Today the United States shows that we are an honorable nation and we pay our debts."

The bill looked headed toward defeat as recently as this week. But its future brightened Wednesday as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who had been threatening to prevent the measure from reaching the Senate floor, reached a deal with Senate Democrats, according to ABC News and The Post's Greg Sargent.

The original Senate version of the bill would have provided $6.2 billion in benefits to responders, but the deal reached by Coburn and Democratic leaders would lower the price tag to $4.2 billion, of which $1.5 billion would go to health benefits and $2.7 billion would go to compensation.

New York Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill, held a news conference Wednesday heralding the bipartisan deal.

"The Christmas Miracle we've been looking for has arrived," Schumer and Gillibrand said in a statement. "Over the last 24 hours, our Republican colleagues have negotiated in good-faith to forge a workable final package that will protect the health of the men and women who selflessly answered our nation's call in her hour of greatest need. ... We thank our Republican friends for coming together to fulfill America's moral obligation to the Heroes of 9/11."

In a floor speech Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was "delighted" a bipartisan agreement had been reached and praised both the passage of the bill and the efforts of Republicans who worked to amend it, notably Coburn and Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.).

"Some have tried to portray this debate as a debate between those who support 9/11 workers and those who don't," McConnell said. "This is a gross distortion of the facts. There was never any doubt about supporting the first responders. It was about doing it right."

Supporters of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 say that the measure would provide key medical and economic assistance to 9/11 responders over the next decade, and they believe that a vote during the lame-duck session remains the legislation's best hope for getting passed.

Opponents argued that there should have been more debate on the bill; that it should be funded through spending cuts; or that the bill was unnecessary and would be open to abuse.

Wednesday's vote marked the second time this month that the Senate took up the bill; earlier, in a 57-to-42 votewith no GOP support, it fell short of the 60 votes it needed to advance under Senate rules.

The House version of the bill passed in September. The original $6.2 billion price tag for the Senate version was less than the $7.4 billion the House version would have cost; the Senate version also made changes to the revenue-raising measures that would fund the bill.

The measure was named for a police detective who worked at Ground Zero and died in 2006 from lung ailments.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday had asked members to remain in Washington in order to stand by to vote on the measure, but many departed early for their Home districts ahead of the winter break.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 22, 2010; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

I heard that John Boehner was a "no" show for this vote. Something as important as help for first responders and he leaves early for a tee time???? John, when you are speaker of the house you need to be there, not calling in your vote from the nearest golf course. Could be real interesting the next two years. If he doesn't step up to the plate and do something then it will be time to fire up the "fire Boehner bus tour".

Posted by: pgmichigan | December 25, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@waynenjerriford:
"Nice is nice but, where does it all stop? Why did the government deem it necessary to compensate the survivors of those who died or, who were injured in the 9/11 event with taxpayers money?"

For the people who were injured or the families of those who died in the attacks, in order to get the money, you have to promise not to sue the US or Saudi Arabia. Yes, Bush didn't want his best hand-holding buddies to be sued; and since he did nothing to stop the attacks although he had been warned, he was concerned about lawsuits against the federal government.

Posted by: woodrow_L_3 | December 23, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

@4joewright:
If it is your job, you cannot walk away. Symptoms need not appear until some time later.

And the Bush administration told people working there that tests showed the air was safe to breathe, which is why some worked without their masks. Of course, this turned out to be a lie.

Insurance companies are playing their typical games with some of the claims.

As far as volunteers, if you don't help of the people who volunteered, what person in their right mind would volunteer in the future?

And I don't care how great your salary is, a serious illness can wipe you out very quickly. If you have a 20% copay, that can still add up quickly to the point that you have to declare bankruptcy.

Posted by: woodrow_L_3 | December 23, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I love how the Republicans and Fox News invoke 9/11 whenever it suits their interest, but they don't give a crap about the people who were there, the people who sacrificed their lives and health for others. I've been to New York. I've talked to New Yorkers. These people have been sick for years. Many are dying. And their insurance is playing the run out the clock game, hoping they'll die before they have to pay. It makes me SICK. I NEVER want to hear 9/11 out of a conservative's mouth again.

Posted by: GWBequalsWPE | December 23, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

NYC is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and this is another bailout of monumental proportions. I have no problem with actual healthcare for those who aren't covered by the city of NY. However the $4B for compensation is utter nonsense.Do we provide a DIME of compensation to returning vets in the way of free housing?? Of course not just another way to reward NYC and its attorney base

Posted by: mandinka2 | December 23, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

This may be a heretical position, but I am 100% opposed to this payoff. There are several reasons:

(1) The so-called first-responders took their action voluntarily.

(2) Many if not most of the first-responders went to the site because it was their job (I’m thinking of policemen, firefighters, EMS members and others. This is what they were paid to do.

(3) The policemen, firefighters and EMS crew and others are all union employees paid very high salaries, with lifelong pensions and full medical coverage provided though their unions.

(4) Firefighters spend 99% or some very high amount of time doing nothing, i.e. sitting around the firehouse shooting pool, watching television, sleeping, eating, etc. They do not fight fires 24/7 yet they get paid as if they did work 24/7. I guess they are paid for “availability.” The police at least walk the beat.

(5) If I’m not mistaken, families of some of these first responders have already been paid off by the feds in the original victims compensation fund (whatever it was called). Some victim family members became millionaires. Some cashed their checks, packed their bags and headed out of town. Among other reasons, this scheme was concocted to save the airlines from being sued out of business.

(6) No scientific, no medical study has been conducted to prove that reported symptoms of health problems by these first responders are linked to having gone to and worked on the pit. Before someone is paid for healthcare, it would be logical to determine if (a) there is a problem and (b) what caused the problem. Sure, some of these people are under medical care and are being treated for various conditions, but no one has proved that these conditions result from and were caused by working on the pile. It is mere allegation. Think of it, if the relationship could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, wouldn’t that already be headline news? No doctor has come forth and said that their patients are suffering from the WTC Malady. As I said, the connection is mere allegation.

(7) Assuming that these first responders are suffering from having responded, who should pay for their healthcare? It certainly isn’t the government because no taxpayer is responsible for the WTC disaster. Maybe the Saudis should get a bill. But also, because most of the responders were union members, the union insurers should pay. That’s what the insurance policies were bought for.

To repeat my two main contentions: The first responders responded voluntarily and/or because it was their job to respond. No one was forced to go to the pile. Everyone could have walked away immediately upon detecting symptoms. Some chose not to wear facemasks.

And second, most of the responders are union members who are covered under big insurance policies and receive lifetime pensions, sometimes higher than they were paid for actually working. The union insurance companies should have paid for all healthcare related to the WTC.

Posted by: 4joewright | December 23, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I was a volunteer 1st responder. I was on site from 9/11 thru 9/17 only to help those we thought were trapped and could be saved, which only turned out to be two people of whom I was the 3rd person on the scene to help them get out alive. After the 2nd week it was deemed a clean up and recovery site and should have been treated as any other superfund site clean up, OSHA should have been on site monitoring all the workers and the conditions they were subjected to at that point. My message isn’t I was a volunteer now pay me. I was pushing more for them to include us in some kind of real health insurance program like the VA. The WTC medical monitoring health program is exactly that. Monitoring, but once you find out you actually need treatment it is an uphill battle of protocols and funding issues to get any kind of remedy. Start laying out thousands in cash out of your own pocket and suddenly instead of being a volunteer I’m paying to have rescued and recovered peoples loved ones. I imagine to some that seems fair, maybe I’m just thick headed or plain stupid, but to me it seems very, very wrong. The news makes it sound like we all hit the lottery, do the math even if you took the 30,000 some responders they say are effected which I find hard to believe myself and divide it into 2.6 billion that doesn’t even cover what I am paying in prescriptions for the rest of my days assuming I live another 10 to 15 years and thats being optimistic. If I even get anything I would be surprised, because as a volunteer I have no Unions pulling for me, so they don’t have to pay. Which means as it has been so far I fall thru the cracks and in 10 years when I die homeless on the street then it will be a boo hoo big news story. Until that time I’m just going to slide back into the shadows from which I emerged. I don’t even tell people I was a rescue worker on 9/11 it’s more of a curse that something I can be proud of, it’s not like being a WWII war veteran who can be openly proud of his service to his country, my service only stirs up controversy, like a Viet Nam vet who was sick for being exposed to agent orange. It’s shameful to have to be treated this way for just rushing in trying to help……
To the guys that keep saying I volunteered it's my problem . Don't forget to forward your name so I can get you the bracelet I promised you in my other post.

Posted by: Tired1stResponder | December 23, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

More welfare for the NY unions.

Did you know that within one week of of 9-11, the NYC police and fire unions were demanding that every single one of their members on Manhattan Island that day be allowed to immediately retire with full pay and benefits?

The unions have been milking this tragedy since before the smoked cleared.

When I was a kid growing up on Long Island, you could always tell who was a government union worker. They had all the nicest houses and the newest cars. Oh, and they went on vacation six weeks every year.

Posted by: TheMSMControlsUs | December 23, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

In the photos of the elated police and firemen upon hearing news of the passage, why are they all whooping it up like they just won the lottery?

Oh.

Posted by: TheMSMControlsUs | December 23, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

" It appears that indeed Obama was leading a life as a closeted bisexual at least through 1999. Oh, and of course, he also seemed to have been fudging the truth regarding his drug use since, especially since college... --Chirpy Rumblings, October 24, 2009" I am surprised that a law professor has such a hard time with this. It's rather simple actually. The government's role in marriage is to protect each party in the same way it protects businesses through contract law. That's it. Nothing needs to be added to prevent underage marriages or marriages to animals, they're all already covered in contract law. Minors cannot enter into binding contracts nor can animals. Polygamy on the other hand, another step to far by the government. While I would never 2 or more spouses on anyone, that's not my business any more than it is the governments. As long as all parties involved are equally protected contractually under the law. Now, if the answer includes forcing churches to marry people then that is a clear violation of the First Amendment and should never be allowed. Given the financial loss of not catering to all of its potential customers, there will be enough churches more than willing to accept a same-sex couples money as they are a traditional couple. It really is that simple. Given that the POTUS is more likely than not to be a one-termer, this is his opportunity to make the biggest impact on history and be more than a rose trimmer in the garden during his 1 term.
Obama is a Fannie Mae what a surprise!
Yarbels laughs at the teabagger you call President

Posted by: Loxinabox | December 23, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I keep reading columns regarding Obama's humility and on and on. President Obama knows his politics better than most.

The only piece of unfinished business was the no vote on the Dream Act, an act endorsed by some notable Republicans before they were against it.

The Republicans seem to have caved after garnering the support to give their wealthy friends an undeserved income tax cut extension. When a party is screaming about deficits and are then willing to put $70 billion a year into the pockets of those who least need it, something is wrong with that party.

It was only a matter of time before some of the Republicans had to vote "yes." The Republican position for the last two years cannot be sustained by a viable major party. The 2010 election results are more a people's response to a gridlocked Congress, not to the President's agenda.

Posted by: EarlC | December 23, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans who resisted this bill and threatened to kill it because it was "unaffordable" are going to rue the day they did so. Why? Because there is miles and miles of video tape showing these Scrooges standing firm on not assisting fellow citizens, many of whom literally have given their life for their country, while they gleefully and forcefully made the case that investment bankers and the uber rich absolutely required another round of tax cuts. Nothing in that discussion about tax cuts being unaffordable.

If modern day politics is boiling down to class warfare, the Republicans just shot themself in the foot. I can see the commercial now; GW Bush standing on the pile being embraced by a rescue worker immediately followed by a shot of Tom Coburn explaining why these workers did not deserve, nor could we afford, the aid they need.

Jon Stewart is going to be remembered as the one person who noticed this hypocricy and used his bully pulpit to shine a light on the true nature of the Republican leadership. The fact that our sitting President did not is also an indication that Barack Obama is walking a fine line with his new best buds on the right and that political compromise sometimes requires one to sublimate his/her principles to get a deal done.

Posted by: bobfbell | December 23, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans who resisted this bill and threatened to kill it because it was "unaffordable" are going to rue the day they did so. Why? Because there is miles and miles of video tape showing these Scrooges standing firm on not assisting fellow citizens, many of whom literally have given their life for their country, while they gleefully and forcefully made the case that investment bankers and the uber rich absolutely required another round of tax cuts. Nothing in that discussion about tax cuts being unaffordable.

If modern day politics is boiling down to class warfare, the Republicans just shot themself in the foot. I can see the commercial now; GW Bush standing on the pile being embraced by a rescue worker immediately followed by a shot of Tom Coburn explaining why these workers did not deserve, nor could we afford, the aid they need.

Jon Stewart is going to be remembered as the one person who noticed this hypocricy and used his bully pulpit to shine a light on the true nature of the Republican leadership. The fact that our sitting President did not is also an indication that Barack Obama is walking a fine line with his new best buds on the right and that political compromise sometimes requires one to sublimate his/her principles to get a deal done.

Posted by: bobfbell | December 23, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans who resisted this bill and threatened to kill it because it was "unaffordable" are going to rue the day they did so. Why? Because there is miles and miles of video tape showing these Scrooges standing firm on not assisting fellow citizens, many of whom literally have given their life for their country, while they gleefully and forcefully made the case that investment bankers and the uber rich absolutely required another round of tax cuts. Nothing in that discussion about tax cuts being unaffordable.

If modern day politics is boiling down to class warfare, the Republicans just shot themself in the foot. I can see the commercial now; GW Bush standing on the pile being embraced by a rescue worker immediately followed by a shot of Tom Coburn explaining why these workers did not deserve, nor could we afford, the aid they need.

Jon Stewart is going to be remembered as the one person who noticed this hypocricy and used his bully pulpit to shine a light on the true nature of the Republican leadership. The fact that our sitting President did not is also an indication that Barack Obama is walking a fine line with his new best buds on the right and that political compromise sometimes requires one to sublimate his/her principles to get a deal done.

Posted by: bobfbell | December 23, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans who resisted this bill and threatened to kill it because it was "unaffordable" are going to rue the day they did so. Why? Because there is miles and miles of video tape showing these Scrooges standing firm on not assisting fellow citizens, many of whom literally have given their life for their country, while they gleefully and forcefully made the case that investment bankers and the uber rich absolutely required another round of tax cuts. Nothing in that discussion about tax cuts being unaffordable.

If modern day politics is boiling down to class warfare, the Republicans just shot themself in the foot. I can see the commercial now; GW Bush standing on the pile being embraced by a rescue worker immediately followed by a shot of Tom Coburn explaining why these workers did not deserve, nor could we afford, the aid they need.

Jon Stewart is going to be remembered as the one person who noticed this hypocricy and used his bully pulpit to shine a light on the true nature of the Republican leadership. The fact that our sitting President did not is also an indication that Barack Obama is walking a fine line with his new best buds on the right and that political compromise sometimes requires one to sublimate his/her principles to get a deal done.

Posted by: bobfbell | December 23, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

If real health care reform were in place, this bill would be redundant.

Posted by: surfreality1 | December 23, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Note to US citizens:

1. Equal healthcare for constituents as for members of Congress (and staff) is freedom/justice/liberty.
2. Employer based insurance is not working if the goal is to create jobs.

Posted by: OutOfState | December 23, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked anymore by the ignorance of the angry and self-obsessed right.

1. Don't they have insurance? Yes - they have insurance which still has annual or lifetime caps (pre-Obamacare) and a workman's comp system that also is more interested in denying coverage than providing it. This money is needed to cover the out of pocket expenses.

2. First responders were told the air was safe by the Bush Administration's shill Christine Todd Whitman. The air was toxic by far greater measure than "normal" working conditions for firefighters due to the high concentration of heavy metals. They were discouraged from wearing protective breathing gear so as not to alarm the locals.

3. Republicans were sure eager to use the tragedy of 9-11 to funnel corporate welfare to the defense industry and to creating whole new government bureaucracies like Homeland Security and the TSA. This bill is peanuts compared to the tax money spent to make us afraid enough to give up our rights to privacy.

4. The credit goes to Jon Stewart for shaming Congress and the President into action. The President never invested one iota of political effort to bring about this bill.

Posted by: buckbuck11 | December 23, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Where does the spending ever stop?

Posted by: brewstercounty | December 23, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations to President Obama and the Democrats for making it happen, we need more "lame duck sessions". The Republicans are great at starting wars with no intension for paying for them and then it's just a matter of time before the system collapses. Folks wars are not free. Merry Christmas everyone.

Posted by: Hx6MkxhW | December 23, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

COMPARED TO HOW FAST THEY BUSTED THEIR A__ FOR THEIR BANKSTER PAYMASTERS!

Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses

BY TIMOTHY P CARNEY


Editorial Reviews
Obama Is Making You Poorer—But Who’s Getting Rich?
Goldman Sachs, GE, Pfizer, the United Auto Workers—the same “special interests” Barack Obama was supposed to chase from the temple—are profiting handsomely from Obama’s Big Government policies that crush taxpayers, small businesses, and consumers. In Obamanomics, investigative reporter Timothy P. Carney digs up the dirt the mainstream media ignores and the White House wishes you wouldn’t see. Rather than Hope and Change, Obama is delivering corporate socialism to America, all while claiming he’s battling corporate America. It’s corporate welfare and regulatory robbery—it’s Obamanomics.
Congressman Ron Paul says, “Every libertarian and free-market conservative needs to read Obamanomics.” And Johan Goldberg, columnist and bestselling author says, “Obamanomics is conservative muckraking at its best and an indispensable field guide to the Obama years.”
If you’ve wondered what’s happening to America, as the federal government swallows up the financial sector, the auto industry, and healthcare, and enacts deficit exploding “stimulus packages,” this book makes it all clear—it’s a big scam. Ultimately, Obamanomics boils down to this: every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich, and those somebodies are friends of Barack. This book names the names—and it will make your blood boil.
*

Obama Is Making You Poorer—But Who’s Getting Rich?
Goldman Sachs, GE, Pfizer, the United Auto Workers—the same “special interests” Barack Obama was supposed to chase from the temple—are profiting handsomely from Obama’s Big Government policies that crush taxpayers, small businesses, and consumers.
Investigative reporter Timothy P. Carney digs up the dirt the mainstream media ignores and the White House wishes you wouldn’t see. Rather than Hope and Change, Obama is delivering corporate socialism to America, all while claiming he’s battling corporate America. It’s corporate welfare and regulatory robbery—it’s Obamanomics. In this explosive book, Carney reveals:
* The Great Health Care Scam—Obama’s backroom deals with drug companies spell corporate profits and more government control
* The Global Warming Hoax—Obama has bought off industries with a pork-filled bill that will drain your wallet for Al Gore’s agenda
* Obama and Wall Street—“Change” means more bailouts and a heavy Goldman Sachs presence in the West Wing (including Rahm Emanuel)
* Stimulating K Street—The largest spending bill in history gave pork to the well-connected and created a feeding frenzy for lobbyists
* How the GOP needs to change its tune—drastically—to battle Obamanomics
If you’ve wondered what’s happening to our country, as the federal government swallows up the financial s

Posted by: STOPAMNESTY | December 23, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to Jon Stewart this bill finally passed.

Posted by: Jihm | December 23, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Tired1stResponder wrote:
"Remember I was a volunteer, it means I was not paid for my services, so why should I have to pay for my injuries..."

I believe you have answered your own question: you volunteered.

Posted by: ahashburn | December 23, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Where does it stop,when the US finaly declares bankruptcy?Yes I appreciate first responders but all first responders are heroes,not just the 9/11 responders.Just because it was so hi profile doesn't make them any more of a hero.Lets be fair!!!

Posted by: rfholmes6 | December 23, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Where does it stop,when the US finaly declares bankruptcy?Yes I appreciate first responders but all first responders are heroes,not just the 9/11 responders.Just because it was so hi profile doesn't make them any more of a hero.Lets be fair!!!

Posted by: rfholmes6 | December 23, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Maybe this 9/11 Bill will make BUSH & CHENY happy for all the damages. - NO BLACK BOX's? - What a Joke upon the American People!!

Posted by: jward52 | December 23, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

What is not being said is this bill pay for the first 5 years and then comes back to be redone again and again and again. Those folks who were there are heros but most were federal employees who had health insurance and benefits to cover their illness, please grow up and take some responsibility for your own actions. If your were hurt you have been compensated at least 3 times already but it never seems to end.

Posted by: ren51 | December 23, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

I was a volunteer 1st responder. I have many serious lung and other repiratory and medical issues. I have been in the WTC treatment and monitoring program since its inception and have still had to bear much of the expense myself. I have paid thousands in Medical expenses and lost hundreds of hours of work. If you are a Union employee you get compensated for lost time via your union contract. But I am self employed and when I am in the Doctors office or hospital I am unemployed. Many of these people are already getting health benefits thru their unions who are trying to push it off on workmens comp who is trying to push it back to the unions. i.e. no one wants the financial burden. What they should have done was make them pay for their already insured and then the funds from this can go to those who really need it, the ones with no medical insurance. Not ones who are covered by entities who don't want to pay thus forcing them to have to rely on this fund too. Those who already got retirement disability payments, got NYC lawsuit payments and some who already got the 9/11 VCF payments or some a combination of all three shouldn't be allowed to get even more money. What about those who haven't gotten a dime to reimburse them for all their expenses and medications?.............Like Myself. To Those Who Keep Saying The Taxpayers Are Paying For This Please Read The Bill!! We closed an off shore tax loop hole that now charges offshore corporations who do business with the US Government. The bill costs them 2% it costs the US taxpayers nothing. Zero, Nada, Get It!! And if you are a taxpayer and feel that if you had to pay for this you shouldn't, send me your name because we want to send you a special ID bracelet so we know who you are. Then if you or one of your loved ones ever need a 1st responder we want to make sure you get what you are willing to pay for. Remember I was a volunteer, it means I was not paid for my services, so why should I have to pay for my injuries resulting from this attack against our country. Injured war heroes are taken care of for life and so should we. I don't see any difference between the attack on the WTC and the attack on Pearl Harbor and those civilians who helped and were killed or injured then. These were attacks against our country not just an attack against NYC. What ever happened to UNITED WE STAND? Remember to support your 1st responders as you never know when you will need one. Especially the Volunteers We Work For Free

Posted by: Tired1stResponder | December 23, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

I was a volunteer 1st responder. I have many serious lung and other repiratory and medical issues. I have been in the WTC treatment and monitoring program since its inception and have still had to bear much of the expense myself. I have paid thousands in Medical expenses and lost hundreds of hours of work. If you are a Union employee you get compensated for lost time via your union contract. But I am self employed and when I am in the Doctors office or hospital I am unemployed. Many of these people are already getting health benefits thru their unions who are trying to push it off on workmens comp who is trying to push it back to the unions. i.e. no one wants the financial burden. What they should have done was make them pay for their already insured and then the funds from this can go to those who really need it, the ones with no medical insurance. Not ones who are covered by entities who don't want to pay thus forcing them to have to rely on this fund too. Those who already got retirement disability payments, got NYC lawsuit payments and some who already got the 9/11 VCF payments or some a combination of all three shouldn't be allowed to get even more money. What about those who haven't gotten a dime to reimburse them for all their expenses and medications?.............Like Myself. To Those Who Keep Saying The Taxpayers Are Paying For This Please Read The Bill!! We closed an off shore tax loop hole that now charges offshore corporations who do business with the US Government. The bill costs them 2% it costs the US taxpayers nothing. Zero, Nada, Get It!! And if you are a taxpayer and feel that if you had to pay for this you shouldn't, send me your name because we want to send you a special ID bracelet so we know who you are. Then if you or one of your loved ones ever need a 1st responder we want to make sure you get what you are willing to pay for. Remember I was a volunteer, it means I was not paid for my services, so why should I have to pay for my injuries resulting from this attack against our country. Injured war heroes are taken care of for life and so should we. I don't see any difference between the attack on the WTC and the attack on Pearl Harbor and those civilians who helped and were killed or injured then. These were attacks against our country not just an attack against NYC. What ever happened to UNITED WE STAND? Remember to support your 1st responders as you never know when you will need one. Especially the Volunteers We Work For Free

Posted by: Tired1stResponder | December 23, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Thank God for patriotic men and women of reason despite a vote for Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism coutesy of Mitch "chinless waddle" McConnell; why certainly Moe!! Kentucky deserves better. What a disgusting traitor to the American majority: McConnells' Intolerant Minority of "Crazy 28" including ~ South Carolina oil slime Jim "secret holds" DeMint.

Traitors to American soldiers and veterans and civilians to the end!!! Go home for Christmas now, with a safer world despite McConnell and Demints obvious support for Terrorists. McConnell and Demint probably sell them guns directly (yea NRA) out of their Mansions with slave quarter outhouses and Dixie blasting on the speakers out back.

Posted by: Airborne82 | December 22, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

The first responders on 9/11 were heroes. Of course, all first responders face danger, both imminent and delayed. Firefighters are routinely exposed to smoke and chemicals and collapsing buildings. At the same time, they are compensated. They receive salaries and medical benefits from the city of New York. So what is this federal legislation about? The NY politicians sponsoring it say it is a Christmas present. Could it be a $4.2 billion present from the taxpayers to the politicians to buy votes?

Posted by: allamer1 | December 22, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

This is just insane.

The whole mentality of money solves all ills is the fundamental problem facing America right now. And it really started to accelerate with 9/11 and the "compensation fund." And the wars that we have tried to avoid having the public feel.

But just as troubling is the concept that those that died in, responded to, and possibly got sick as a result of, 9/11 are somehow more noble than others who die, respond, get sick. They aren't. It is really as simple as that. The "compensation funds" need to stop, now.

Posted by: concerned1231 | December 22, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Why are Americans being saddled with this cost? Why not send the bill to Saudi Arabia? Eleven of the hijackers came from that pesthole.

The Saudis are hardly angels, but blaming them for 9/11 is lazy and stupid. The plot was conceived and orchestrated by a Pakistani Baluachi (KSM) and endorsed by a leadership council of a Syrian, Egyptian, and a Yemeni ethnic stripped of his Saudi citizenship for terrorism and plotting against the monarchy (bin Laden).
The plan was to have Egyptian Atta and Paki bin al-Shihb lead, joined by a Kuwait and Palestinian pilot - all trained to fly, unwittingly by Americans. Logistics were provided by Islamoids in Morocco, Spain, and the UAE.
For embarassment, KSM wanted to go with 11 Muslims who were citizens of, and traitors to the UK, USA, Germany or go with his Indonesian connections to get 11 Malays - to be muscle.
He was told to go with the Indonesians because of a slight fear one in 20 or so American or UK Muslim terrorists might be informers.
Then at last minute, KSM was told to replace the Indonesians with Saudi muscle but to tell the 11 Saudis it was not a one-way martyrdom mission but was a rescue op to free several hundred Palestinian prisoners from Zionists - though to prepare as martyrs because American police might kill them once they landed - especially if Atta or other pilots ordered people killed. (the "unwitting martyrs", as Binnie called them, were no angels but were peripheral figures in the 9/11 gambit).

How did the Zionists in media get so many gullible Americans to believe it was "All a Saudi thing"?
Fairly simple. Back in 1998-2000, the zionists believed the threat to Israel was the ideology of Wahhabism funded by the Saudis that was strongly anti-Israel, that their neocon allies had to work on getting America to attack Iraq 1st, back the Israelis wiping out Hamas and Hezbollah, then while isolating the Saudis, do a quick and surgical war on Iran.

It all blew up in the zionists and neocons faces once they rushed to capitalize on 9/11 by demonizing the Sauds as behind 9/11 and the rush to war with Iraq.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | December 22, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse


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Posted by: itkonlyyou429 | December 22, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Nice is nice but, where does it all stop? Why did the government deem it necessary to compensate the survivors of those who died or, who were injured in the 9/11 event with taxpayers money?
Should we also give $1,000,000.00 to the family of every cop who dies in the line of duty? Or every victim of a disastor? These people were just doing their duty and/or were just victims of an unpreventable act of terrorism.
This is completely wrong and totally unfair to all other victims of any kind of disastor. Does the government feel especially guilty or what, to give away our hard earned tax money this way?
Posted by: waynenjerriford
===========================
Very good comments and badly needed. This is essentially yet another pork package for the NYC 9/11 lobbyists after some 33 billion has been dispersed on the "hero-victims", businesses affected by 9/11, and all sorts of gravy said to be connected to The Day of the Heroes - but having nothing to do with actual damages.

The NYC media of course went into full Heroes Deserve Whatever Money They Demand mode...the usual old garbage narrative about how NYC cops and firefighters rush into danger while that trait is absent in other places in America.
And ignore some of the plushest "injury/death line of duty payments & benefits" in the country are doled out to NYC people, inc. weezy garbage truck drivers and Rudy's "Hero Mayor's staff tour guides to Ground Zero for thousands of selected by Rudy or Bernie - VIPs.
Expect the NYC people will be back in another few years for another demand for more 9/11 billions be given to it's favored few.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | December 22, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Next Battle for equal rights in the military, Transgendered Equality?

Posted by: geo82170 | December 22, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm pleased about the passage of the DADT, 9.11 responders and START bills. It is good to see that the Senate can still develop compromise solutions. I also give credit to the Obama White House for these victories.

That said, my memory is long on core economic issues, and I still feel that the White House caved in too easily on the tax cut compromise. Of course, I do not discount the possibility that DADT, 9.11 and START were also (unreported) negotiating points in the tax compromise deal. If so, the Obama White House may have gotten a better deal than we thought.

While START, DADT and 9.11 take some of the sting out of the tax cut deal, I will still be watching the President verrrrry closely on bread and butter issues. He has improved his hand, but has not won me back yet.

One point that worries me is Obama's hawkishness on the deficit-- if tax increases (especially for the wealthiest) are off the table, how are needed services-- including Social Security-- to be funded?

Posted by: ANetliner | December 22, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

sken66,

You should ask George W., after all he was the one holding hands with the Saudi Prince just a few months after their citizens killed over 3000 of ours.

Posted by: rharring | December 22, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Why are Americans being saddled with this cost? Why not send the bill to Saudi Arabia? Eleven of the hijackers came from that pesthole. Saudi Arabia continues to wage stealth jihad in this country. It supports CAIR, the ISNA, MPAC, and numerous Wahhabist mosques. Doubtless it is chipping in to construct the Ground Zero mosque, as well. Or is this Congress’s way of sticking it to Americans – again?

Posted by: skeen66 | December 22, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

What's interesting is if you look at the guest list for the DADT repeal signing extravaganza only two Republicans showed up; Senator Susan Collins and Representative Tod Platts, out of the 500 people who attended. What happened to all those pro gays in the military Republicans who couldn't wait to vote for this bill? Also MIA was all those so called conservative Democrats who voted en masse for the repeal of DADT. What happened to Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Mary Landrieu, etc.? I would think they'd be proud of their vote, issuing press releases, joining arm and arm with all those gay soldiers that were ousted from the military by way of DADT. Could it be the 2012 elections coming up in less than 2 years?

Posted by: RobT1 | December 22, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Of all the things considered during the Democrats lame session, this one is well deserved of being approved and signed. Long over due. Much was risked by the 9/11 heroes to save lives.

Posted by: hdl549 | December 22, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

T-Bone3,

Got an issue with anger do we? Not to mention facts. Yeah those liberals suck, i mean after all they captured the Libyans responsible for the Pan Am 103 flight even though that happened under Reagen. Captured and prosecuted the World Trade Center bombers, convicted and killed Timothy McVeigh. Cant say that for the GOP. Let me guess you are pining for the 5 dollar a gas days, when the American Taxpayers were getting reamed and the oil companies were making money hand over fist because they were buddies with Cheney. Oh and did i mention the Bush WH outing an undercover CIA agent? Yeah those liberals are terrible. By the way when is Bush going to bring in Bin Laden? Oh i guess that opportunity passed while he was vacationing for 2 years.

Posted by: rharring | December 22, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

wayneinjerriford asks:

"Why did the government deem it necessary to compensate the survivors of those who died or, who were injured in the 9/11 event with taxpayers money?"

Because it was the government namely the EPA that said the air was safe when it wasnt.
Here is their statement:

"The EPA wasted little time in assuring New York residents and rescue workers that the area surrounding ground zero was safe. On September 13, 2001, just two days after the attacks, the agency issued a press release in which it explained "sampling of bulk materials and dust found generally low levels of asbestos. The levels of lead, asbestos and volatile organic compounds in air samples taken Tuesday in Brooklyn, downwind from the World Trade Center site, were not detectable or not of concern."¹ A September 18, 2001 press release was even more confident, quoting then-EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman: "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, DC that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink."²

Posted by: rharring | December 22, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Nice is nice but, where does it all stop? Why did the government deem it necessary to compensate the survivors of those who died or, who were injured in the 9/11 event with taxpayers money?
Should we also give $1,000,000.00 to the family of every cop who dies in the line of duty? Or every victim of a disastor? These people were just doing their duty and/or were just victims of an unpreventable act of terrorism.
This is completely wrong and totally unfair to all other victims of any kind of disastor. Does the government feel especially guilty or what, to give away our hard earned tax money this way?

Posted by: waynenjerriford | December 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice is nice but, where does it all stop? Why did the government deem it necessary to compensate the survivors of those who died or, who were injured in the 9/11 event with taxpayers money?
Should we also give $1,000,000.00 to the family of every cop who dies in the line of duty? Or every victim of a disastor? These people were just doing their duty and/or were just victims of an unpreventable act of terrorism.
This is completely wrong and totally unfair to all other victims of any kind of disastor. Does the government feel especially guilty or what, to give away our hard earned tax money this way?

Posted by: waynenjerriford | December 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

NYorkers should learn to pay their own freaking bills! Why should the rest of our citizens pay for THEIR public employees when we all know those arrogant, liberal democrat residents wouldn't do sh*t to help us? NYC has 7 million residents and 53 billionaires. If you can't find the $ to pay your own way, cut spending or raise taxes on yourselves first!

NOBAMA.

Posted by: T-Bone3 | December 22, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

NyYorkers should learn to pay their own freaking bills! Why should the rest of our citizens pay for THEIR public employees when we all know those arrogant, liberal democrat residents wouldn't do sh*t to help us? NYC has 7 million residents and 53 billionaires. If you can't find the $ to pay your own way, cut spending or raise taxes on yourselves first!

NOBAMA.

Posted by: T-Bone3 | December 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Contrary to Fox News LIES - less than 2 weeks ago ALL 42 GOP Senators voted to block health care for 9/11 workers until they got tax cuts for their beloved billionaires.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/nyregion/10health.html


Posted by: angie12106 | December 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This is wonderful and it's nice that the two major parties can reach agreement on SOMETHING. Nobody deserves support like this more than the brave men and women who were true heroes on that dark day.

I don't know how many first responders who
became ill from working at Ground Zero there ARE - but assuming it's 4,000 or so -that would equate to $1,000,000 per person.
I can't help but wonder - what happened to the Workers' Compensation system?? I know that NY State and NYC are in fiscal distress - but don't they take care of their employees as all private employers are required by law to do??

And who said that Health Care was expensive??

Posted by: awolfson | December 22, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin asked, "Now, a year later, I gotta ask the supporters of all that, 'How's that hopey, changey stuff working out?'"

Very well, Sarah, very well! Thanks for asking.

Posted by: falcon269 | December 22, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

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