9/11 Health and Compensation Bill Passes House
September 29, 2010– Legislation to establish health treatment
and monitoring programs for World Trade Center responders was overwhelmingly
approved by a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.
H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, was approved by a
vote of 268-160. The vote to pass the bill followed an attempt by Representative
Christopher Lee (R-NY) and House Republican Leadership to amend H.R. 847 by
adding unrelated legislation to repeal a portion of the health care reform law
and reform the medical malpractice system. The motion failed by a vote of
185-244. Had the motion succeeded, it would have effectively killed the bill.
“I am pleased that the 9/11 Act passed the House by an overwhelming and
bipartisan majority,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “World
Trade Center responders know they are finally one step closer to receiving the
care and benefits they need and deserve.”
The September 29 vote follows a previous attempt to pass H.R. 847 in the House
earlier this year under rules requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. That
attempt fell 21 votes short of a two-thirds majority.
Following that setback, the IAFF lobbied extensively to bring the bill back up
under regular order, supplementing the efforts of New York Local 94 and Local
“Our two New York City affiliates, their leadership and their members lobbied
tirelessly to move the 9/11 Act forward,” says Schaitberger. “Today’s vote is
proof that effective and targeted lobbying works.”
Schaitberger thanked the bill’s sponsors and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her
leadership and efforts to get the bill to the House floor. The bill now proceeds
to the Senate.
“Speaker Pelosi made a promise to us to get this done because it had been too
long and this bill needed to go to the House floor. Today she fulfilled her
promise,” Schaitberger says.
Congress first established screening, treatment and compensation programs for
9/11 responders shortly after the terrorist attacks, and has continued to
provide funding for the programs each year since. H.R. 847, sponsored by
Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Peter King
(R-NY), would strengthen the existing programs in three important ways – expand
coverage to include those who lived near Ground Zero, create a funding mechanism
so the program is not subject to annual appropriations and reopen the Victims
Compensation Fund so people who became ill after the Fund was closed in 2003 can