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Maloney Statement on 9/11 Health & Compensation

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:05 pm    Post subject: Maloney Statement on 9/11 Health & Compensation
From Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:00 am to Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:59 am (included)
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For Immediate Release: March 31, 2009

Contact: Joe Soldevere, (646) 831-1649

Maloney Statement on Today's 9/11 Health and Compensation Hearing

WASHINGTON-- Rep. Carolyn Maloney offered the following statement about today's hearing before the Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009. This legislation would address the health crisis caused by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by providing medical monitoring and treatment for those exposed to toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, and providing compensation for economic losses due to illnesses or injuries caused by the attacks.

Today’s hearing focused on the history of the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) established by Congress to provide compensation to survivors of persons killed, or to those who were injured, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The hearing also looked at the current problems arising from injuries sustained by first responders, construction workers, local residents, and other individuals who sustained injuries that did not become manifest until after the deadline for seeking compensation from the VCF.

“Thousands lost their lives on 9/11, but thousands more lost their health --and with it their ability to provide for themselves and their families. The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which Congressmen Nadler, King, McMahon and I introduced with the support of the entire New York Congressional delegation, would reopen the federal Victim Compensation Fund to help those who lost their livelihoods as a result of the 9/11 attacks.

“Reopening the VCF would give thousands of 9/11 responders, lower Manhattan residents, and others a way to recoup their economic losses without having to resort to litigation.

“As it stands now, more than 10,000 people are suing the City of New York and its contractors for damages stemming from the 9/11 attacks. There is a better way. The original VCF, set up in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, allowed family members to get economic relief quickly, without the drawn-out, painful process that so often accompanies litigation.

“Passing our bill would give those who did not get VCF awards the first time around the compensation they need --and hopefully some closure to the trauma they’re still experiencing seven years after the towers fell.

“We have a moral obligation to care for those who were harmed by the terrorist attacks on our country. This is truly the least we can do as a grateful nation.

“I'm grateful to Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren and my Manhattan colleague and neighbor Jerrold Nadler for co-chairing today's hearing, and I'm extremely optimistic that with the support of Chairman Conyers and Speaker Pelosi, the House will at last have the opportunity to pass our bill and resolve these last remaining gaps in our response to the 9/11 attacks.”

Facts on 9/11 Health Issues and H.R. 847:

--Thousands of first responders and others exposed to the toxins of Ground Zero are now sick and need our help. These include New York firefighters, EMTs and police, construction workers, clean-up workers, residents, area workers, and schoolchildren, among others.

--Although most of these people live in the New York/New Jersey area, at least 10,000 people came from around the country to help in the aftermath of the attacks. They hail from all 50 states and nearly every congressional district. Many are sick and others are very concerned about their health. (Please click here for a map of Registry enrollments nationwide and in each congressional district.)

--Illnesses include respiratory and gastrointestinal system conditions such as asthma, interstitial lung disease, chronic cough and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

--More than 400,000 people are believed to have been exposed to toxins from the World Trade Center site.

--Nearly 16,000 responders and at least 2,700 community members are currently sick and receiving treatment. More than 40,000 responders are currently in medical monitoring. 71,000 individuals are enrolled in the WTC Health Registry.

--Those who suffered economic losses as a result of their WTC-related illnesses need and deserve compensation, but have no alternative to the current litigation system.

--The WTC contractors and the City of New York are being sued by over 10,000 people who are sick because of Ground Zero toxins. They face great financial losses because they were asked to help at Ground Zero in the country’s time of need.

H.R. 847 Would Address the 9/11 Health Crisis by:

--Providing medical monitoring and treatment to WTC responders and community members (area workers, residents, students and others) who were exposed to toxins released at Ground Zero.

--Building on the existing monitoring and treatment program by delivering expert medical treatment for these unique exposures at Centers of Excellence.

--Providing for research into WTC-related health conditions.

--Reopening the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to provide compensation for economic losses and harm as an alternative to the current litigation system.

--Providing liability protections for the WTC contractors and the City of New York.
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