The Importance of Renewing the 9/11 First Responders Bill

The pending renewal of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act has received a lot of attention lately. This important legislation provides health screenings and financial aid to the first responders and workers at the scene of the 9/11 attacks. It was initially passed in 2010 and funded for five years while we could study the link between time served at Ground Zero and health issues later in life. The research is in: 33,000 first responders and workers suffer from at least one illness or injury related to the attacks, including cancer, breathing issues, sinus issues and blood conditions. Many have died, and the deaths continue every year. There is no doubt about the cause of these health issues.

It is absolutely our duty to care for these police, firefighters, paramedics, and everyday citizens who didn’t hesitate when it came to the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts at Ground Zero. This country promised we would take care of them and now Washington politicians are trying to weasel their way out of that promise.

My opponent Congressman Patrick McHenry, the 4th ranking Republican in the Congressional leadership, is doing everything he can to fight the Zadroga Act and keep us from helping first responders. This isn’t a new position for him either – he also voted against the original bill in 2010.

First responders are dying every day, and refusing to help them is reprehensible. There always seems to be money available for the things that McHenry’s banking friends want, or his oil company friends want, or his lobbyist friends want – but when it comes to police officers and firefighters, he thinks supporting them isn’t worth it.

Congressman McHenry’s actions do not represent the values of the people of the 10th district and they do not represent the values of this country.

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