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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:22 pm    Post subject: APPROVAL OF $108 MILLION TO EXPAND 9/11 HEALTH COVERAGE
From Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:00 am to Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:59 am (included)
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For Immediate Release Contact: Clinton Press Office

December 17, 2007 (212) 688-9780

Joshua Vlasto (Schumer)

(202) 380-5990

Scott Mulhauser (Lautenberg)

(202) 224-3224

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez)

(202) 224-4744

Shin Inouye (Nadler)

(202) 225-5635

Meghan O'Shaughnessy (Maloney)

(202) 225-7944

Craig Donner (Fossella)

(718) 356-8400


Funding Comes as Thousands of Patients are Seeking Treatment for

9/11 Related Illnesses, with Numbers Rising

Funds to Expand Treatment to Residents, Office and Commercial Workers,

Students, and Other Individuals

Washington, DC Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Robert Menendez, along with Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, and Vito Fossella today announced that the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved an additional $108 million in federal funding to address the mounting health needs of those individuals who were exposed to environmental hazards released as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks upon the World Trade Center. The money builds on the $50 million that was provided in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill that was signed into law earlier this year, bringing total funding for the year to $158 million.

The latest funding increase includes $51.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Bill and $56.5 million in additional emergency spending. The bill, having been approved by the House-Senate Appropriations Committees, will now return to both chambers of Congress for final passage, whereupon it will be sent to the President for his signature.

The terrible tragedy of September 11th continues to affect New Yorkers, from heroic first responders who rushed into the toxic cloud to search for survivors and have now become victims themselves, to residents who became ill even as they tried to rebuild the fabric of lower Manhattan. I am proud to have stood with them for six years as the lasting health effects of the terrorist attacks became clearer and clearer. Todays announcement marks another step toward addressing these enduring wounds, Senator Clinton said. I strongly urge the President to abandon his veto threat. The New Yorkers and first responders from across the country who answered the call in our time of need have suffered enough and dont deserve to be caught in the middle of a political squabble.

I urge the President to rescind his veto threat against this essential funding, which will enhance medical monitoring and treatment for our heroic 9-11 first responders. More than six years after the attacks, some first responders have developed debilitating conditions and diseases that will require long term care. They did not abandon us in our time of need, and we must not abandon them. I am heartened that this additional funding has been set aside for their treatment, and will press the fight for every dime needed to get this job done right, Senator Schumer said.

First responders, emergency workers and volunteers showed true courage during the recovery effort after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now, many of these brave men and women are suffering serious illnesses from the toxins at Ground Zero. I urge the President to rethink his irresponsible veto threat so these heroes can get the treatment they deserve, said Senator Lautenberg.

"This funding will help address the needs of all those who deserve their government's attention and resources, whether they developed symptoms in the days after 9/11 or in the years after 9/11," said Senator Menendez. "'We must never forget' means that the federal government cannot ignore it's duty to care for those who are suffering just because six years have passed. After a long period of federal inaction, this year Congress has begun to deliver the type of commitment that these victims of 9/11 deserve. We cannot rest until all of those who inhaled the toxic dust around Ground Zero are examined and those found to be sick are treated."

This landmark funding is a tremendous step toward caring for those who six years later - are still suffering as a result of the 9/11 attacks on our nation, said Congressman Nadler. As Abraham Lincoln said, we must care for him who shall have borne the battle. We must also continue fighting for comprehensive health benefits for all those who have become sick as a result of the collapse of the World Trade Center, whether they be first responders, local residents, office workers, or students. And we must ensure a full and proper clean-up of all affected areas, so that no more innocent people will be harmed by the environmental scars of 9/11.

This landmark bill would for the very first time ensure a full years funding for federal 9/11 health clinics, said Congresswoman Maloney. In addition, these funds will help provide care not only to 9/11 responders, but to lower Manhattan residents, workers and students, as well. The New York delegation worked hard to make sure that in 2008, 9/11 health clinic doctors wont have to worry about keeping their doors open. I urge the President to support this funding and sign this important bill.

This funding will finally provide medical monitoring and treatment to all the unsung heroes of 9/11, including 9/11 responders, area workers, residents and others. It is also an important step forward in fulfilling our responsibility to help all those who are sick today as well as those who become ill in the future, said Congressman Vito Fossella.

The $108 million in new funding will go towards monitoring and treatment activities administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help those individuals who were exposed to the environmental hazards released on and after 9/11. The $51.5 million portion in the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Bill also includes statutory language requiring the Department of Health and Human Services, through NIOSH, to expand the program beyond responders and rescue workers to entities that would provide services to residents, office and commercial workers, students, and other individuals who were exposed. Existing programs to serve those who were impacted include the centers in the Mount Sinai Consortium and the program run by the New York City Fire Department.

The lawmakers said that the approved funding is a recognition of the importance of addressing the short and long-term health needs of those individuals who were exposed to the environmental hazards released as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks upon the World Trade Center, and affirms the commitment of the federal government to provide assistance to those whose physical and mental health was adversely impacted as a result of this exposure. More than six years after the attacks, persistent health effects have been documented among rescue and recovery workers, such as asthma, chronic sinusitis, and gastrointestinal conditions. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other health effects have also been diagnosed among those who have been exposed.
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