WASHINGTON (WPIX)—Today the message went out loud and clear to opponents of the 9/11 Health Care bill. Supporters of the bill suggesting that those who vote against the bill will carry such a vote as a 'badge of shame'.
In Washington, D.C., a galaxy of political superstars from New York and New Jersey joined more than 100 9/11 survivors, family members and first responders to pressure passage of the stalled 9/11 Health Bill. The political heavyweights on hand included Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, and Lautenberg, House Members Maloney, Nadler, and King along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
They don't want this lame duck session of Congress to conclude without lawmakers taking action to help the sick and dying 9/11 Responders, survivors and family members.
It was a patriotic start to today's lobbying effort in Washington, D.C. in support of the 9/11 Health Care Bill. At the news conference urging support for the bill's passage a young girl opened the proceedings with a rendition of our National Anthem.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said "It's so important, not just to them, not just to their families, but to who we are as Americans," adding "this should not be a partisan fight. We have an undeniable moral obligation to provide these 9/11 heroes with all of the care that they need 2708 It's time to keep our promise to them and pass this bill in the US Senate."
The seven point four billion dollar bill would cover health problems suffered by thousands of first responders who got sick from exposure to dust and toxins at Ground Zero. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "New York and every other state in this nation is counting on the US Senate to do the right thing, and to do it right now."
For years John Feal, of the FealGood Foundation, has fought to get the bill passed. At today's news conference he said he remains convinced it will pass, telling reporters "they told me we couldn't pass this bill in the House, we proved them wrong. Because it was a collective united front of everybody working together."
A health care bill to provide for the needs of an estimated thirty thousand sick and dying 9/11 Responders and survivors still has not been signed into law. The House of Representatives approved the measure about two months ago. Now it's up to the lame duck session of the Senate to get the bill to the President's desk. So far a key obstacle is said to be powerful Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky. McConnell has taken no public position but in private, according to published reports, he has voiced opposition to the bill.
President Obama says he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.