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NY Area Senators, Reps Demand 9/11 Health Plan

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:21 am    Post subject: NY Area Senators, Reps Demand 9/11 Health Plan
From Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:00 am to Tue May 01, 2007 1:59 am (included)
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For Immediate Release

April 27, 2007


Meghan O'Shaughnessy (Maloney), 202-225-7944

Craig Donner (Fossella), 718-356-8400

Andrew Koneschusky (Schumer), 202-224-7433

Nina Blackwell (Clinton), 212-688-9559

Denise Mixon (Towns), 202-226-4045

Shin Inouye (Nadler), 202-225-5635

John Cardarelli (Shays), 202-225-5541

NY Area Senators, Reps Demand 9/11 Health Plan

Answers from Bush Administration

WASHINGTON - Today, members of the New York-area Congressional delegation again pressed the Bush Administration to provide details on its plan to medically monitor and treat all those impacted by exposure to hazards related to the 9/11 attacks. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Vito Fossella (R-NY), Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY), along with Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) sent a joint letter [text of letter] to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt after the Administration's top 9/11 health official, Dr. John Agwunobi, refused in both testimony and correspondence to provide further information on the Administration's plan.

"Those suffering from 9/11 health-related problems deserve immediate answers and action - not more needless delays from the Administration," said Maloney. "The New York area delegation will not rest until a comprehensive 9/11 health plan is realized."

Fossella said, "The unsung heroes of 9/11 need access to medical monitoring and treatment. The federal government needs to move forward without delay in releasing a comprehensive plan of action and also funding needs for next year."

"Six years of empty promises is unacceptable - our sick 9/11 workers needed treatment yesterday. Despite repeated congressional efforts to fund adequate testing and treatment, this Administration has been long on promises and short on delivering vital funds for the heroes of 9-11. Everyday that they continue to delay, more heroes are denied the first-rate care that their sacrifice demands," said Schumer.

"I am very disturbed by the lack of action on the part of the Department of Health and Human Services on this critical issue. The absence of an appropriate federal plan for 9/11 healthcare funding and the Administration's refusal to communicate with Congress is a real cause for concern. We certainly hope that their apparent silence on how they intend to allocate future 9/11 funding is not an indicator that they plan to withdraw support for the important and necessary Centers of Excellence," Clinton said.

"The Administration is clearly hoping the challenges related to the health of 9/11 responders and community residents will simply go away without really dealing with them. HHS needs to come clean and make up for almost six years of very limited action to help the heroes and the victims of 9/11," Towns said.

"The Bush administration must come up with more than $25 million to monitor and treat all those who were exposed to environmental toxins following the events of 9/11," said Nadler. "In addition, in order to ensure that the Federal government properly pays its debt, ultimately the Administration must work with Congress to devise a long-term, comprehensive solution that will allow for ongoing medical monitoring and treatment that is not subject to these annual budget battles. These 9/11 heroes need help, and thus far the Bush administration has yet to support a comprehensive strategy to help them."

Added Shays, "Firefighters, police, emergency medical personnel, transit workers, construction crews and other first responders as well as volunteers came to Ground Zero knowing there would be risks, but confident their community would sustain them. It is clearly evident from the hearings my subcommittee held on this subject that diverse and delayed health problems continue to emerge in those exposed to the contaminants and psychological stressors unleashed on September 11, 2001. These people require help; they require answers; and they require a plan."

The Administration had previously indicated that it would finalize its plan by February 2007, but to date no such plan has been shared with Congress or the public. In January, the Administration notified Congress that it would include $25 million for 9/11 health treatment in the president's FY08 budget, and that this funding would serve as a "placeholder" until the release of its comprehensive funding plan for FY08 the following month. With the appropriations process for FY08 well under way in Congress, the delegation members expressed their concern that the Administration's delays could force federally-funded health clinics such as those operated by Mt. Sinai Hospital and the FDNY to shut their doors.


04/05/07- Response Letter from Dr. John Agwunobi to NY-area Delegation

03/06/07 - Administration's Top 9/11 Health Official's Testimony Draws Concern from NY-area Delegation

01/31/07 - 9/11 HEALTH BREAKTHROUGH: Reps. Fossella & Maloney Confirm White House Will Include Funding for 9/11 Health Treatment in Budget Proposal
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