First responders – health help

Dear Editor,

I highly commend The Warren County Memorial Park “911 Memorial Service.” The field of flags, the upright Twin Towers steel beams, the oratorical tributes to our local first responders: policemen, fire fighting personnel (volunteers), et al, all part of a worthy tribute to our “heroes,” particularly to our local “heroes.”

Honoring the NYC Twin Towers policeman and firefighter heroes who charged toward danger while all else were fleeing and solemnly remembering the 2,823 victims was the impetus for the Memorial Service, as I understand.

I recently attended the Shanksville, Pennsylvania’s Flight 93 National Memorial; it is a National Park. Flight 93 was a mere 22 minutes of air time from Washington, D.C. when these heroes, the passengers, overpowered the hijackers, thwarted the terrorists, and crashed the Boeing 747 in the Stoneycreek Township farm field killing the 40 passengers and four terrorists. We all owe much to these heroes and the Memorial is a fitting tribute to them.

Unlike the 40 Flight 93 honorable victims, the NYC heroes who breathed the toxic air are still succumbing for their unselfish heroics after effects. Cancer, prolonged illnesses, organ failures, respiratory illnesses are common ailments. It is estimated there are 14,000 to 19,000 to 55,000 victims.

Two days after September 11, 2001 attack, Mayor Giuliani said: “The air is safe as far as we can tell, with respect to chemicals and biological agents.” On September 18, EPA Administrator Whitman said: “I am glad to reassure the people of NYC that their air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink.” Evidence later showed that was not true.

Giuliani urged city health care liability be limited at 350 million dollars. Finally, on January 2, 2010, one year after his inauguration, and eight-plus years after the attack, President Obama signed the Democratic-sponsored “James Zadroga 911 Health and Compensation Act” into law. The law included 4.2 billion dollars and extended for five years.

During the eight-plus years between the attack and the Zadroga Act, there were several attempts to allocate health funds; Senator Hillary Clinton in 2006 offered a 1.9 billion dollar amendment rider to a GOP bill for “suffers of ground zero and fumes after effects.” It was defeated.

GOP House leaders opposed proposed compensation bills as being a “massive new entitlement program.” In 2009, GOP senators filibustered against the Zadroga Bill until the Bush tax cuts were extended. Notable Republicans who voted against the “James Zadroga 911 Health and Compensation Act” were Paul Ryan Wisc 1, Bill Schuster PA 9, and Glenn Thompson PA 5. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign refused to support the Act’s extension.

Comedian Jon Stewart along with his first responder friend John Fear have testified and publicized the bi-partisan group of House and Senate legislators’ attempt to make the Victims Compensation Fund permanent. I hope they succeed.

‘Tis a shame Trump hadn’t made funding the “911 Heroes Health” a campaign promise; “it” could be declared a National Emergency. It’s also a shame Trump intends to violate the Constitution’s Separation of Powers but though wrong, at least this would be for a valid cause.

Don Scott,