Crucial Vote on 9/11 Health Care Bill Expected Wednesday

WCBS 880 - December 22, 2010

by Rich Lamb Reporting

NEW YORK (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) - In the the nation's capital, New York Senator Chuck Schumer said Wednesday was decision day for a vote in the Senate on the long-stalled 9/11 health care bill, Jay Dow reports.

"We will see once and for all who will keep their promise to never forget the heroes of 9/11," Schumer said.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is named for former NYPD detective James Zadroga, whose supporters said died of respiratory disease as a result of his work at the World Trade Center Site.

It would provide free health care and compensation payments to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who fell ill working there.

To address Republican opposition, Democrats recently cut costs by a billion dollars and shifted funding for the program from a corporate tax, to increased excise fees for foreign goods sold to the us government.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn was threatening to stand in the bill's way. He issued a seven-page document, saying bill provides "overly generous funding" and fails "to acknowledge existing public and private benefits and past compensation" to 9/11 first responders.

Mayor Bloomberg said the people who got sick after working at Ground Zero are American heroes. "To say that this is a New York problem is like saying Pearl Harbor was a Hawaiian problem. It's ridiculous. This was an attack on America."