She gave her all for her country at Ground Zero; pass the Zadroga for Lt. Marci Simms and all the heroes
Having given her last full measure of devotion to her city and country, New York Police Lt. Marci Simms was laid to rest Sunday, a casualty of the war that came from the sky on 9/11.
Cancer felled Simms last week at age 51. The disease had been planted in her lungs almost 15 years ago by carcinogens that hung in the plume formed by the collapse of the Twin Towers.
She had no idea she was breathing deadly toxins as she labored around The Pile for months. None of the rescue and recovery workers knew. How could they? Their government had said the air was safe.
Twenty-three of The Finest died on 9/11. Simms’ death increases to 95 the number of NYPD members who have since succumbed to Ground Zero-related ailments — and comes after Congress disgracefully allowed funding for 9/11 health care and compensation to lapse.
Simms was a 17-year veteran. Most recently, she was stationed at the 107th Precinct in Flushing. The cancer that proved terminal emerged 16 months ago and demanded extensive and expensive medical care. Costs were covered by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
Written with a five-year expiration date, that law is no more — and the battle is on to win permanent renewal.
The International Association of Fire Fighters, for one, is calling on the moderators of Tuesday night’s GOP debate to press Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul on their refusal to get behind extending the Zadroga law for good.
A measure to do just that has garnered a supermajority of 65 cosponsors in the Senate, including every Democrat and 19 Republicans with the fresh additions of Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Arizona’s Jeff Flake.
In the House, New York Democrats Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler and Republican Pete King have rounded up 244 co-sponsors, 56% of the chamber from 43 states. But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia has called for limiting funding to five years and for slashing the amount approved for compensation.
Congress has enacted open-ended compensation for mining victims of black-lung disease and atomic workers sickened by radiation poisoning. Goodlatte is staining the national honor by offering less to citizen-soldiers like Marci Simms, who rallied to serve their country and paid with their health and lives.