Leaders call on patriotism, not partisanship in Congress for 9/11 healthcare bill
NYPD Lt. Marci Simms, 51, contracted cancer after responding to Sept. 11 more than 14 years ago. She was among more than 33,000 first responders and survivors with illnesses related to the terrorist attack's aftermath.
She died on Nov. 5.
"We fear that number will only grow," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in front of City Hall on Monday, calling for the permanent funding of a bill designed to pay for medical treatment of the more than 72,000 first responders from around the country who tended to Ground Zero after the 2001 attack.
De Blasio released a letter addressed to the newly instated House Speaker Paul Ryan and signed by 27 leaders from cities and towns around the country in support of the full and permanent reinstatement of the Zadroga Act, which passed in 2010 but expired on Oct. 1.
Virginia Congressman and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte introduced his own bill that would extend Zadroga for only five years and reduce compensation to survivors and families by about 60 percent.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney blasted the House Republican leadership behind the bill for not consulting with any of the New York delegation, neither Democrats nor its two Republican members, in an attempt to avoid a full court press of bipartisan support.
"They just threw it in on the day that [Speaker] Ryan was elected and hoping no one would notice, that no one would write about it," she said.
Lawmakers gathered at City Hall were confident that their bill has enough bipartisan support to pass with a floor vote.
Still, the request for a permanent Zadroga Act is attached to an omnibus House budget bill expected to go to a vote on Dec. 11.
"It's not a New York challenge," Maloney added. "It's an American challenge."