NEW VIDEO SHOWING AILING 9/11 HEROES NEEDING OUR SUPPORT TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THEIR HEALTH CARE!
Please help us get the message out and share this video, by email,
Facebook and Twitter. Please join in telling your Member of Congress to
join the bipartisan supporters and co-sponsor the James Zadroga 9/11
Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.
Shocking New Video Shows Ailing 9/11 Heroes Set to Lose Health Care
Zadroga 9/11 Health Act to Expire Unless Congress Takes Action
“Without this program, thousands upon thousands of people will be
devastated financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally. They
need the support of Congress. They gave their lives to take care of
other people and they deserve to be treated as long as they live.”
-- Dr. Ellen Koffler, Cancer Care Coordinator, World Trade Center Health Program
Today, advocates for 9/11 first responders and survivors released a
deeply moving new video featuring Americans who are suffering from
9/11-related illnesses and need help from Washington. The James Zadroga
9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was signed into law in 2011,
will expire unless Congress takes action now to renew it. The
legislation provides health care and economic compensation to those who
lost their health as well as to the families of those who died since
9/11 from related injuries.
TELL CONGRESS to renew the 9/11 health law by texting "911" to 877877,
or by calling 888-701-7499 toll free to be connected to your
The video was produced by E-18 Media with the generous assistance of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act is a coalition of
advocates who are working to make sure that Washington does the right
thing and renews and extends the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. More
than 30,000 sick and injured 9/11 responders and survivors depend on
the medical treatment and the compensation programs provided by this
# # #
Citizens for Extension of the James Zadroga Act, Inc.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Senator Kirsten
Gillibrand, along with Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Peter King will
announce the introduction of legislation to extend the James Zadroga
9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Below are the details about the
GILLIBRAND, MALONEY, NADLER, KING, FIRST RESPONDERS,
COMMUNITY SURVIVORS, LABOR LEADERS TO UNITE AT GROUND ZERO ONCE AGAIN TO
BAND TOGETHER IN FIGHT TO REAUTHORIZE JAMES ZADROGA 9/11 HEALTH AND
As 13th Anniversary of 9/11 Nears, Critically
Needed Health and Compensation Programs Passed Into Law After An Almost
Decade Long Fight Set to Expire in 2016 – Participants in 9/11 Health
Program Living in 429 of 435 Congressional Districts
Lawmakers: "We Have a Moral Obligation to Continue to
Provide the Care and Compensation That Our 9/11 Heroes and Their
Families Need and Deserve"
New York, NY – With the country set to reflect on the 13th
Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center next
week, federal lawmakers who led the fight in Congress to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act –
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Jerrold
Nadler, Rep. Peter King – to gather together at Ground Zero 11:15AM on MONDAY, SEPT 8th
along with 9/11 first responders, community survivors and union leaders
to begin their push in Congress to reauthorize the critically needed
programs that were originally passed in December 2010. The Zadroga
bill’s two critical programs providing medical treatment and
compensation for 9/11 heroes – the World Trade Center Health Program and
the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – are set to
expire in October 2016. To continue these programs for 25 more years,
through 2041, the lawmakers will be introducing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act later this month.
Nearly 13 years after September 11th, 9/11 responders and
survivors are battling serious health crises resulting from the toxins
at Ground Zero. More than 30,000 9/11 responders, as well as survivors
of the attacks and area residents and workers, have an illness or injury
caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds of those
have more than one illness. More than 70 firefighters and 60 NYPD
officers have died from their 9/11-related illnesses. Those suffering
from illnesses obtained in Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11 are
not limited in geography. Participants enrolled in the World Trade
Center Health Program for treatment currently reside in 429 of the 435
Congressional districts in the country.
Senator Gillibrand, Rep. Maloney, Rep. Nadler, Rep. King, labor
leaders, advocates, and 9/11 first responders and survivors will urge
Congress to reauthorize the critically important James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation programs.
Below is an Oped that appeared in Sunday's, August 31st, 2014 NY Daily News by Richie
Alles, National Legislative Director of the Uniformed Fire Officers
Association and Jimmy Slevin, Vice-President of the Uniformed
Firefighters Association, both of whom are members of 911 Health
Watch's Board of Directors.
Please share it.
When 9/11 arrives, remember the living
Thousands still suffer
In a little more than a week, we will mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Here in New York, the names of those killed in the attacks will be
read aloud by their family members, friends and coworkers. Across the
country, Americans will gather at memorials to honor the memories of
those who died.
As a nation, we rightly resolved to never forget the attacks. But the truth is, we haven’t entirely kept that promise.
What many Americans may not know is that as the nation recovered, a
public health disaster was just beginning to unfold. Thousands are sick
because of the attacks, as well as the rescue and recovery operations
that continued for months afterward.
In the days approaching this Sept. 11 and on the day itself, we ask
Americans to remember all the victims of that terrible day — those who
lost their lives, and the thousands of living victims who are sick and
dying from illnesses and injuries, some of which have taken years to
We all know the outlines of the story. After 9/11, Americans from
all 50 states rushed to Ground Zero to help in any way they could.
Thousands of people worked in extremely hazardous conditions, often
without proper protective equipment.
As they labored, the site smoldered, and rescue and recovery workers
breathed in a toxic stew of chemicals, asbestos, pulverized cement and
other health hazards released into the air when the towers fell.
The dust cloud that so unforgettably rolled through lower Manhattan
after the attacks settled in homes, offices, buildings and elsewhere —
exposing tens of thousands more to the same toxins.
Thirteen years later, more than 30,000 9/11 responders, as well as
survivors of the attacks and area residents and workers, have an illness
or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds
of those have more than one illness.
Many are disabled and can no longer work. They are suffering from a
host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease and
gastroesophageal reflux disease, to name but a few.
Medical research has identified more than 60 types of cancer caused
by 9/11 toxins. At least 2,800 people have been diagnosed with cancers
caused or made worse by the aftermath of the attacks, a number that is
sure to grow in the years to come.
More than 800 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New
York Police Department personnel are struggling with serious
9/11-related illnesses, many of them cancers, and have had to retire
from their jobs for health reasons.
That is in addition to the more than 70 firefighters and 60 NYPD officers who have died from their 9/11-related illnesses.
Memorials and monuments to our losses continue to be built across
the country in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and elsewhere.
This outpouring of commemoration — not just in metal and stone, but in
solemn ceremonies and prayer vigils, stair climbs and other events — is
important to the American spirit. It is a source of comfort for those
who lost loved ones and shows that the nation truly remembers those who
lost their lives.
But sadly, there is still little mention that 9/11 is, on a daily
basis, impacting the health of thousands of living Americans every day.
That needs to change.
This Sept. 11, as Americans gather to honor and remember those who
lost their lives that day, we are calling on the organizers of these
memorials — governors, mayors, city councils and neighborhood and civic
groups throughout America — to recognize the living victims of the
attacks as well.
As your town or neighborhood holds a 9/11 remembrance, we hope you
will remember and mention the thousands who struggle every day with
illnesses or injuries caused by the attacks. These heroes need your
Alles is national legislative director with the Uniformed Fire
Officers Association. Slevin is vice president of the Uniformed
Firefighters Association. Both are members of the 9/11 Health Watch
board of directors .
Senator Tom Coburn, who had filibustered the passage of the James
Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which created the WTC
Health Program, had requested the GAO review of the decision to add
cancer to the list of eligible conditions that would be covered and
treated by the Health Program. The GAO spent more than a year
conducting its review and of the decision to add cancers as covered
conditions and the impact of that decision on both the Health Program
and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and interviewed medical and scientific experts as part of its review.
While its extensive review found that the decision process could have
been communicated better, it found that the decision to add cancers was
“reasonable.” Here is an excerpt from its summary:
“According to these experts, a hazard-based approach focuses on
identifying whether particular “hazards”—sources of potential harm—are
associated with certain health conditions, and does not attempt to
quantify the risks of developing those health conditions. The
Administrator’s approach used four methods to determine whether there
was an association between a September 11 exposure and a specific
cancer, and thus, whether to add that cancer to the list.
The experts considered the approach reasonable given the WTCHP
certification process for enrollees to obtain coverage for treatment for
a condition on the list, the lack of data related to exposure levels
and risks, and the use of similar approaches by previous federal
compensation programs. “ Page 1, GAO Report: “World Trade Center Health
Program: Approach Used to Add Cancers to List of Covered Conditions was
Reasonable, but Could Be Improved” http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-606
This extensive GAO review clearly supports Dr. Howard’s decision that
had been criticized by some in Congress and others who opposed covering
cancers for 9/11 Responders and Survivors and should answer the critics
who not only opposed covering cancer but opposed passing the
legislation that created the World Trade Center Health Program and
reopening the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Because of Dr. Howard’s decision to add cancers to the list of
covered 9/11 conditions, 9/11 Responders and Survivors who have
contracted cancer from their 9/11 exposures will be able to seek
compensation for their injury. It is important to note that those who
have been diagnosed with cancer have a deadline approaching to register
with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund in order to pursue a claim for compensation.
Below is information on the deadline from the VCF.
Important Information on the October 12, 2014 VCF Registration Deadline
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is approaching an important deadline: This
deadline applies to individuals who were diagnosed with a 9/11-related
eligible cancer other than Prostate Cancer on or before October 12, 2012
and who have not already registered or filed a VCF claim.
Claimants diagnosed on or before October 12, 2012 with one of the cancers added to the list of eligible conditions on that date must register with the Fund by October 12, 2014.
Registration preserves your right to file a claim in the future (before the VCF ends on October 3, 2016). Registration is not the same as filing a claim and you are not required to file a claim even if you have registered. Click here
for detailed information on filing deadlines. Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs) about registration and filing deadlines can be found here.
Statement on 3rd Anniversary of the Passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Below are summaries with url’s to news articles that appeared recently about 9/11 Health and Compensation issues.
June 10, 2014 -- NY Post -- De Blasio, Bratton honor slain 9/11 heroes
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton gave medals
on Tuesday to mothers, wives and children of 12 heroes who died of 9/11
June 9, 2014 -- Chicago Tribune -- Bonus payout for WTC site workers premature: court
A judge acted prematurely in awarding a $55 million bonus payment to
thousands of rescue and cleanup workers at the World Trade Center site
who settled lawsuits against New York City over damage to their health, a
federal appeals court … Continue reading →
May 25, 2014 -- NY Post -- Ground Zero funds dwindle as Buffet takeover plan stalls
Mayor de Blasio is sitting on a controversial proposal to let
billionaire Warren Buffett take over a $300 million taxpayer fund
expected to pay future claims by Ground Zero workers stricken with
May 21, 2014 -- CBS News -- 9/11 attacks leave legacy of chronic illness
After the 9/11 attacks, Glenn Garamella spent months at Ground Zero,
helping families who lost loved ones from the New York City Police
Department. He worked around-the-clock as an employee relations manager.
May 21, 2014 -- City & State -- We Have More To Remember
The opening of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a
clear sign that the nation has not forgotten the events of that horrible
day now almost 13 years ago.
May 15, 2014 --
NEW YORK, NY – Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, U.S. Rep.
Carolyn B. Maloney, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler, U.S. Senator Kirsten
Gillibrand, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, N.Y. State Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver, N.Y. State Senator Daniel Squadron, NYC Council Member …
Continue reading →
Today is the 3rd Anniversary of the passage by
Congress of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Although it was
only three years ago, we should remember how difficult it was to get Congress
to finally act and address the health effects of the 9/11 attacks. When the
Congress finally acted, they established a program for comprehensive medical
care for the Responders and Survivors who were injured and made ill by the
toxins at Ground Zero, and they reopened the September 11th Victim
Compensation Fund to provide compensation for economic losses for those
illnesses and injuries for Responders, Survivors and their families.
Since the legislation was signed by President
Obama, the World Trade Center Health Program, under the direction of Dr. John
Howard, is now providing health care and medical monitoring for injured World
Trade Center Responders and Survivors and for Responders to the Pentagon and
the Shanksville crash sites. The program has added over 4,200 more Responders
and Survivors since it started in July 1, 2011 with a total of over 65,000
program participants. This includes hundreds that are now getting treated for
covered cancers, including prostrate cancer that was just added to the list of
covered cancers, and more than 15,000 Responders and Survivors that that have
received medical treatment for the full range of covered conditions in the last
The World Trade Center Health Program has made
major progress in meeting the goals of the legislation passed three years ago
today, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has yet to meet
our expectations. While the VCF has registered many thousands of responders and
survivors, the program has been slow to provide final determinations.
911 Health Watch will continue to actively
monitor both the health program and the VCF and to offer suggestions on how these
programs can be improved. The many people who have suffered as a result of the
9/11 attacks deserve excellent and responsive medical and compensation programs.
December 19, 2013
Below are summaries with url’s to news articles that appeared recently about 9/11 Health and Compensation issues.
Also, given the many questions 911 Health Watch has gotten on the issue of Cancer Coverage under the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, we have created a new page on our website that explains the process under the statute that Cancer was added to the list of covered conditions.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced World Trade Center workers who performed rescue, recovery and clean-up in the year after 9/11 now have significant new protections for workers’ compensation benefits.
The re-opener of the New York State
Workers' Compensation and Disability Retirement Registry for workers at
the 9/11 site , Assembly Bill 7803A sponsored by Assemblyman Abbate
/Senate bill 5759A sponsored by Senator Golden, has been signed into
law and is Chapter 489 of the Laws of 2013.
The legislation extends workers' compensation eligibility and benefits
for 9/11 World Trade Center workers. Most notably, the legislation
reopens the NYS Workers Compensation Board’s World Trade Center
Registry; extends the deadline period for filing Form WTC-12,
Registration of Participation in World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery
and/or Clean-up Operations, with a new deadline to September 11, 2014. The Legislation also reopens previously time-barred World Trade Center
claims and considers them timely; and adds new qualifying conditions to
The NYS AFL-CIO will be working with its affiliates to spread the word,
answer questions about eligibility and encourage any members or other
workers who may be eligible to register, to do so prior to the new
expiration date of September 11, 2014.
November 10, 2013 -- New York Post -- Warren Buffett’s 9/11 payday
Mayor Bloomberg has recruited fellow billionaire Warren Buffett to take
over a taxpayer fund set up to pay claims stemming from the toxic
Ground Zero cleanup, The Post has learned.
Pretrial hearings began Monday for halid Sheikh
Mohammed and four other men accused of plotting the 2001 terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Published: August 19, 2013 - 3:42 pm
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men accused of plotting the 2001
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon returned to
a military courtroom in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Monday for pretrial
hearings that immediately became mired in a debate over how to handle
As a week of hearings began, defense lawyers said
they weren't willing to sign a memorandum of understanding on the
handling of classified material because they said a judge's order would
prohibit them from sharing relevant evidence with their clients.
not fair to execute a man when you have not given him everything in the
government's possession that bears" on his case, said David Nevin, who
represents Mr. Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
military judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, criticized lawyers for
objecting now to signing the memorandum of understanding for a
protective order that he approved in January.
"Simply to ignore it is not acceptable," Col. Pohl said.
the lawyers for defendant Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mohammed's nephew, signed
the memorandum of understanding. Attorney James Connell said he did so
with the assumption that provisions of the protective order could be
challenged and amended.
Mr. Mohammed and the four others are
accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that used hijacked
passenger airplanes to kill almost 3,000 people at the World Trade
Center in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Virginia, as well as aboard a
plane that crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania.
defendants are charged with conspiring to finance, train and direct the
19 hijackers who seized the four planes, as well as terrorism,
hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the laws of war
and attacking civilians. A trial is at least a year away.
not attending the court session in Cuba watched a closed-circuit video
feed of the hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland, near Washington.
procedural wrangle over the handling of classified information was only
the latest delay in the biggest U.S. terrorism case, which has
proceeded slowly since Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators were
arraigned in May 2012 for the second time. Initial charges were
withdrawn after President Barack Obama sought to move the case to
federal court in New York. The case was returned to the military system
in 2011 after a political outcry against a New York trial.
current case, entire weeks of pre-trial hearings have been lost because
of weather or technical issues, while other logistical concerns and
related legal matters have slowed days of testimony.
Mohammed appeared today in his camouflage jacket and red- dyed beard.
All five defendants sat quietly and answered occasional questions from
the judge with a simple "yes."
Two defendants were ill, their
lawyers said. Mustafa al Hawsawi, who wore a neck brace, was granted
permission to skip the afternoon session so he could return to his
prison cell and take medication. Defendant Walid bin Attash asked the
judge through his lawyer at least twice for a recess. The lawyer, Cheryl
Bormann, said her client suffers from a gastrointestinal disease and
has an unidentified mass beneath his sternum.
The hearings this
week may focus on how much information the government must disclose
about the defendants' years of captivity in secret prisons.
lawyers are asking Col. Pohl to require the government to produce any
documents and information concerning the buildings where the defendants
or potential witnesses have been held.
treatment of the defendants at the hands of the United States government
is a key issue in the pretrial, trial and potential sentencing phases
of this case," the lawyers wrote in a motion that may be considered this
week. The defendants say they were tortured at secret prisons run by
the Central Intelligence Agency in a number of countries that have since
Prosecutors oppose the motion as overly broad. While
the government will produce information about the conditions of
confinement of the accused, "certainly not all materials are relevant,"
prosecutors said in a written response.
The CIA has acknowledged
that Mr. Mohammed, who was captured in a 2003 raid in Pakistan, was one
of three al-Qaeda operatives who were subjected to waterboarding, which
simulates the sensation of drowning.
Mr. Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.
defense is also asking Pohl to preserve evidence from the secret
prisons, known as black sites, where some of the defendants were
"Failure to preserve black-site evidence risks
the government's entire case against the accused," the defense lawyers
wrote in a joint motion.
Prosecutors said in a reply that the
request to preserve such evidence is "moot" and unnecessary because they
agreed in earlier proceedings to preserve any facilities that existed
as of April 2009 and would provide notice to the defense of any change
in that plan.
They also said they don't intend to introduce any
statements by the accused that were obtained while the defendants were
under the CIA's detention and interrogation program.
session marks the first appearance in court of the five men since June,
when testimony focused on whether the defendants had a right to attend
pretrial hearings when classified information is disclosed. Pohl ruled
in July that they will be excluded, and defense lawyers say that means
the accused won't be able to hear testimony about their treatment in
The prison camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station holds
166 inmates, known as detainees. There were 48 prisoners on a hunger
strike as of Aug. 15, with 35 being force-fed, according to Army Major
Gordon Campbell, a prison spokesman, by email.
Mr. Mohammed and
the four others are considered "high-value detainees" who are held at a
secret site on the naval base that is separate from most other
News Release: December 22,
The Senate passes compromise
bill providing free health care to First Responders of NYC 9/11 terrorist
Joe Soldevere (Maloney), 646-831-1649
Ilan Kayatsky (Nadler), 917-757-3104
Kevin Fogarty (King), 202-225-7896
9/11 Health Bill Passes U.S. House,
Will Be Signed by President
-Historic Victory for 9/11
First Responders, Survivors-
Washington, D.C. Today, the House of Representatives passed, for the second
time, legislation to address the health crisis caused by the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001. H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation
Act, will provide health care for those exposed to toxins released by the
collapse of the World Trade Center towers. The bill will also reopen the
federal Victim Compensation Fund to provide economic relief to those harmed by
the attacks. Earlier today, the Senate passed an amended version of the bill
that reduces the bills cost to $4.3 billion over five years. A summary of the
Senates changes can be found below.
The bill, sponsored by New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler
(D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY), with the support of the entire New York
Congressional delegation, will now be sent to President Obamas desk. The
President has said that he supports and will sign the legislation.
The passage of H.R. 847 represents a victory for ailing 9/11 first responders
and survivors who have waited more than nine years for the federal government
to approve a comprehensive plan to deal with the public health disaster caused
by the attacks.
To 9/11 responders and survivors who have suffered for so long: help is finally
here. With this vote, Congress repaid a long-overdue debt and answered the
emergency calls of thousands of ailing 9/11 first responders and survivors.
This bipartisan compromise is a strong program that will save lives, said
Maloney. I thank Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer for their dedication to those
who are sick or injured because of 9/11, I applaud Senators Gillibrand and
Schumer for brokering the compromise reached today, and I remain eternally
grateful to my friends and co-authors, Jerry Nadler and Peter King, and all our
colleagues in the New York delegation.
Todays victory is without a doubt the proudest moment of my 34-year career in
government, said Nadler. Along with Carolyn Maloney, my staff and I have worked
on this legislation for literally nine years. We have stood with first
responders and community survivors through the numerous lows and battles over
the course of years. We have grieved at the many losses losses due to
9/11-related illnesses and due to cold political odds and seemingly
insurmountable hurdles. But, today, thanks to the work and patience of so many
responders, survivors, elected officials, and our allies in disparate corners,
we have achieved the sweetest of victories. And it comes not a moment too soon.
The plight of 9/11 responders and survivors is very serious and immediate.
Thousands are sick and, until now, justice has seemed so far away. I am so
proud that our government has done precisely what it is here for to take
responsibility for its citizens after the ugliest of attacks against our
nks goes out in particular to Congresswoman Maloney, Congressman King, Senators
Gillibrand and Schumer, John Feal, Manhattan's Community Board 1, my entire
staff, and so many others who have done so much.
This is a great victory for the heroes of September 11th, the firefighters,
police officers and construction workers. Justice is finally being served. A
great day for America, said King.
The Zadroga Act is historic, but not unprecedented, legislation. In the
aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attacks, Congress passed the War Hazards
Compensation Act of 1942, which provided health care and financial relief to
civilians who helped recover the dead and salvage what remained of our Pacific
fleet. In passing the Zadroga Act, Congress has once again demonstrated that
our nation will not abandon those harmed by an attack on our shores.
Fact Sheet on Bipartisan Agreement on 9/11 Health and Compensation Act:
The terms of the Senate agreement adopt H.R. 847 with the following changes:
Provide a total of $4.3 billion in funding for the health and compensation
titles of the bill.
Cap federal funding for the health program over five years at $1.5 billion (New
York City will contribute 10% of the cost). Any funds not spent in the first
five years may be carried over and expended in the sixth year of the program.
Reopen the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) for five years to file claims, with
payments to be made over six years. Fund the VCF at $2.8 billion for six years,
with $.8 billion available for payments in the first five years and $2.0
billion available for payment in year six. Claims will be paid in 2
installmentsone payment in the first five years, and a second payment in the
sixth year of the program.
The payfor in the House-passed version of the bill has been replaced by a 2
percent fee on government procurement from foreign companies located in non-GPA
countries and a one-year extension of H-B1 and L-1 Visa fees for outsourcing
companies. These are estimated by CBO to collect $4.59 billion over the 10-year
scoring period for the bill.
The bill is not only fully
paid for, but will reduce the deficit by $450 million over the 10-year scoring
Others changes made in the bill to address Republican concerns:
Requiring that the Centers of Excellence report claims data to HHS so that
costs and utilization of services can be fully monitored.
Specifying the non-treatment services furnished by Centers of Excellence to be
funded under the health program (e.g. outreach, social services, data
collection, development of treatment protocols).
Authorizing the World Trade Center Program Administrator to designate the
Veterans Administration as a provider for WTC health services.
Directing the Special Master to develop rules to implement the VCF within 180
days of passage of the legislation.
TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010
AS THE 9/11 HEALTH BILL (H.R. 847)
APPROACHES A CRITICAL
WE NEED YOU TO REACH OUT TO FRIENDS AND
FAMILY IN EVERY STATE
* * Ask them to make calls to their
Congress TODAY or on MONDAY, May 24th
The 9/11 Health and Compensation
Act (H.R. 847) will be voted on by the full House Energy and Commerce
Committee in a "markup" session that will be held on Tuesday, May 25th.
Thousands of first responders and others exposed to
the toxins of Ground Zero are now sick and need our help. These
individuals include New York
Firefighters, EMTs and Police, construction workers, clean-up workers, residents,
area workers, and school children, among others.
illnesses include respiratory and gastrointestinal system conditions such as
asthma, interstitial lung disease, chronic cough and gastroesophageal reflux
disease (GERD), leukemia, and mental health conditions such as post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD).
More than 400,000 people
are believed to have been exposed to toxins from the WorldTradeCenter
Next...an article from mom, Diane Horning,,,
At the Hour of Our Death. by Rose Marie Berger. Sojourners Magazine, February 2008 (Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 27-31). Features.
At the Hour of Our Death
Is a proper burial for
Center victims a justice issue? Diane Horning's vigil for the conscience of America. by Rose Marie Berger
It was a clear May day on Staten Island in New York, clouds high and wispy against the cerulean sky. A slight Atlantic breeze bent the scrub grass along the highway. Then the wind direction changed, and I inhaled the sickly sweet smell of decomposition. I had arrived at the Fresh Kills Landfill run by the New York City Department of Sanitation-the mass grave for hundreds of victims of 9/11.
"It's a pretty formidable place," Diane Horning told me as we looked across nearly 2,200 acres of prettied-up garbage dump, approximately 40 acres of which holds refuse from the World Trade Center. "You can't bring the elderly. You can't bring young children. There's no place to put flowers."
The Horning's 26-year-old son, Matthew, was killed on Sept. 11. He worked for the Marsh & McLennan insurance company on the 95th floor of the north tower at the
Center. O f the 295 Marsh & McLennan employees killed that day, many have had no remains found. Of the 2,749 people killed at the
Center, more than 40 percent lack any identified remains.
In 2003, Diane Horning founded World Trade Center Families for a Proper Burial with Arlene and Arthur Russo, whose son Wayne had also died. The organization's express purpose is to retrieve the remains of the 9/11 victims in the Fresh Kills Landfill and give them a proper burial. They represent about 1,000 families.
The proper burial of the dead has been called "the last office of humanity." The 15th-century poet-philosopher Giambattista Vico identified it as among the three characteristics, along with religion and marriage, of a civilized society. "[From] these three institutions are the origin of all civilizations and therefore they must be most devoutly guarded by all," Vico wrote, "so that the world should not again become a bestial wilderness."
IN THE DAYS FOLLOWING the collapse of the Twin Towers, firefighters and others began the painstaking task of recovering the remains of their lost comrades and hundreds of civilians using a "hand and shovel" digging method. To find and return remains to family members for proper burial was a matter of honor, dignity, and respect for the dead. But political expediency took precedence over basic human decency. "[Then-mayor Rudy] Giuliani wanted to make sure that the Trade Towers were at ground level before he left office," Kurt Horning told me, "which is why they went to the 'scoop and dump' method once they recovered the gold."
According to The London Times, a billion dollar cache of gold and other precious metals had been buried beneath the
Center. "The Comex metals trading division of the New York Mercantile Exchange kept 3,800 gold bars . worth more than $100 million" in vaults in the basement of one of the WTC buildings, reported the Times. Comex also held almost $220 million worth of other companies' gold and more than $430 million worth of silver.
On Oct. 30, 2001, workers at Ground Zero unearthed the cache. With more than 100 heavily armed federal agents standing guard, police and firefighters were redeployed from recovery efforts to load up armored trucks with the treasure. Within hours of finding the gold, Giuliani stopped the recovery effort and pulled workers off the pile.
The "scoop and dump" method was for clearing the site, not recovering the dead. Earthmovers and steam shovels scooped up debris at Ground Zero and dumped it in trucks that took it to barges. It was floated up the Arthur Kill tidal strait and then trucked to the Fresh Kills Landfill to be sifted for remains and personal effects. According to the sworn testimony of workers there, whole bodies were still in the wreckage. Taylor Recycling's site supervisor for the Fresh Kills sifting job, Eric Beck, testified in conjunction with a law suit the World Trade Center Families have brought against the city of New York, "I vividly remember our finding a man's full chest and the full body of a man still dressed in a suit." Beck also testified that Department of Sanitation workers were told to take the fines (the sifted, screened, and washed soil)-in effect the cremated remains of WTC victims-and use them to pave roads and fill in pot holes.
"Matthew's wallet and a piece of his occipital bone have been recovered from the debris brought from the WTC to the Fresh Kills Refuse Site," Diane stated in her law suit testimony, "and have been returned to us. I became a plaintiff in this law suit, in order to have Matthew's remains accorded a proper and decent burial in a place of honor and respect consistent with the free exercise of his and my religion, so that his final resting place is not a landfill used as a garbage dump."
THE NEW YORK CITY mayor's office has repeatedly stated that the WTC debris brought to Fresh Kills was thoroughly sifted down to a quarter inch and that every effort was made to recover any evidence of personal items or human remains and to keep the WTC material separate from the household garbage. In 2001, several WTC victims' families were contacted by the FBI and told that they could view the sifting operation at Fresh Kills. Diane asked if she could have some of the fines for burial when operations were completed. In July 2002, when it was announced that the sifting was finished, Diane called the mayor's office to reiterate her request. "I was told that they didn't know what I was talking about. That began my effort to find out what was going on. Where was this material?"
Diane and Kurt were finally allowed onto the area of WTC debris at Fresh Kills to view the soil that had been supposedly sifted down to a quarter of an inch. They found massive sections of blistered steel, huge lengths of rebar, and hundreds of smaller items. Kurt recalled, "There was a new level of dirt a foot high. I asked them, 'You removed all the debris, the tires, the broken glass, the clothing, the carpeting?' They said, 'Oh no, we didn't remove anything. We are just covering it up.'"
Six years later soil erosion continues to push bones to the surface. More often, the forces of water, wind, and gravity expose shoes, watches, credit cards, and jewelry. "We found a Bible," said Kurt. "We found a doll."
"This is a landfill that never had a liner," said Diane. "It was established before they needed to have liners and so it's just sort of percolating down into the garbage. That's so distressing to us. They didn't even bother to put a liner down on top of the household garbage.
"Originally, all we wanted was the fines," Diane continued. "We thought that they had honestly sifted it all down and if we could just have those fines, then we'd be satisfied. But when we saw what was going on down at Ground Zero, where they've now found over 1,500 pieces of human remains since the recovery process ended that had been overlooked or deliberately built on, we wanted more than just the fines. We are saying to the city that they can dig everything out and put it all together in a new location that doesn't have garbage under it, or they can re-sift it and give us the results of the siftings. We are willing to do it either way."
As I walked through the debris with the Hornings, I found wall tile, bits of china, parts of a tennis shoe, and a section of marble that could have come from a church altar or a high-end corporate office. According to a chart compiled by the Department of Sanitation, more than 200,000 tons of debris that arrived at Fresh Kills from the WTC in the first 32 days is unaccounted for. It wasn't sifted. It wasn't tracked. It was dumped and covered over.
"We began to realize that human remains were in the debris when human body parts began to be found in the debris that had been sifted," testified sanitation worker Theodore Feaser, "and when the sifted and bulldozed debris was suddenly subjected to droves of seagulls that swooped down, attracted by the human body parts contained therein."
While USA Toda y touts former mayor Giuliani as the "hero of 9/11," the real heroes of Sept. 11-the first responders and victims' families-are dismayed and angered at Giuliani's disregard for the dead.
"We have remains of dead heroes out at the garbage dump because of Giuliani and his administration," said New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Riches, who lost a son in the Towers. "They are still there today, and they won't remove them."
Diane Horning is disgusted. "Now we've got people like Rudy Giuliani who ordered all this nonsense running for president! I'm absolutely dumbfounded. This is a man whose claim to fame was that he's the one who let them use my son as pothole fill. Is this what our nation has become?"
Diane Horning, a Roman Catholic, has turned to the church for help. Catholics consider the proper burial of the dead as "a corporal work of mercy" and believe in the inherent dignity of the human person and the resurrection of the body. Caring for the body even in death "grows out of a reverence and concern for the person whom the church now commends to the care of God," according to the U.S. Catholic bishops.
Sadly, when Horning brought her cause to Cardinal Edward Egan of New York, she says he refused to meet with her. Horning then went to the apostolic nuncio in
Washington, D.C., and he turned her away, telling her to speak with the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference.
" The bishops told us that it was a local issue and they don't get involved in politics," reported Horning. "I'm just absolutely shocked that they would tell me that they don't get involved in politics. Where were you all with Terri Schiavo? Where are you now when they are asking Roman Catholic hospitals to give out birth control after rape? Don't tell me that you don't get involved with political issues that are faith-related? You do! And if this is a tenet of the faith-the proper burial of the dead-then where are you?"
Local churches, both Catholic and Protestant, have helped the WTC Families for a Proper Burial in small ways through supporting a petition drive, attending meetings, and writing to local leaders. Archbishop John Myers of Newark has expressed general support. But, overall, national religious leadership has been silent on this issue.
"We're just floored that the clergy is no where on this," Diane said. "I keep hearing that these things take time . as I watch my son's remains wash into the Arthur Kill. I don't understand how much time it's supposed to take.
"A grief deferred is a very dangerous thing. Things keep getting taken from me. My son was taken from me. I think my country was taken from me. My faith has been taken from me. If it weren't for the wonderful people I've been meeting, especially those who have suffered loss, I don't know where I'd be."
THEN THERE IS the issue of money. "I can't tell you how many people have said to me, 'Well, how much would [re-sifting] cost?'" said Diane. "I have to say back, What difference does that make? That's like saying, This child is ill but the medical bills are going to be a certain amount of money, so forget it, let her die. But I did try to find out how much the federal government paid for the 9/11 clean up. FEMA allotted $125 million for the clean up at this dump site. They spent $67 million. So I called FEMA and I asked, 'Are these figures accurate?' They said, 'Yes.' So I asked, 'What happened to the rest of it? Where is it?' They said, 'Well..it's not like it's held in escrow someplace.'
"So the city took half of the money that FEMA gave them. They got their work done under budget in less time than they had allotted. Then they reapportioned the rest of that money to pay for straight-time salaries and security-neither of which FEMA ever pays for. So the city won the lottery!"
Eric Beck, the Taylor Recycling site supervisor at Fresh Kills, confirmed the timeline in his court statement. "I was told that the recovery job at Fresh Kills would be a two-year project. We finished in 11 and a half months."
As Diane asserts, "For the city to say now that it would be too costly to properly bury our dead, I have to say back to them that the money was there. But you chose to use it some other way. And you had no right to do that. They came in under budget and under their funding and now body parts are being found all over Ground Zero. . Rudy Giuliani wanted to look like the take-charge guy who got it done fast."
She muses on the deeply personal consequences of these bureaucratic and political decisions. "I do try when I come here to say prayers. We bring flowers. Of course, there's no place to put them, but we bring them. I try to have some kind of community with my son here. But I'm not able to do it. Once in awhile you'll get some little wildflowers here and that's nice. But the bottom line is that there's garbage under him. I just don't think a civilized society does that."
LISTENING TO DIANE HORNING calls to mind the story of Rizpah in 2 Samuel. Rizpah kept vigil for months over the exposed bodies of her two sons whom King David, for political reasons, had handed over to be killed. "She allowed no bird to set upon them by day nor any wild beast by night" (21:10). Eventually, Rizpah's campaign forced David to give her sons, and the others killed with them, a proper burial.
Catholic catechism teaches that "the body that lies in death recalls the personal story of faith, the past relationships, and the continued spiritual presence of the deceased person. This is the body once washed in Baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life. Thi s is the body whose hands clothed the poor and embraced the sorrowing."
Sept.11 has been excessively sentimentalized on one hand, which prevents genuine grieving and authentic resurrection. On the other hand, there is the obscenity of the Fresh Kills landfill where the bodies are kept hidden-because to look at them truthfully may raise questions about America's existential innocence.
I look over the piles of rocks used at the dump site to fill in erosion holes. "It looks to me like a cairn," says Diane, "like an ancient cairn." Together, we pray the Lord's Prayer and set flowers against a piece of metal jutting from the ground. "The Franciscan priests have forged a beautiful bell for us," Diane tells me. "It's called The Bell for the Unforgotten. I would love to have a bell tower where we could put it. Just something very simple. A place where we could remember Matthew."