Nine years after 9/11 terrorist attacks and with mounting evidence of the serious health risks first re- sponders suffered breathing in toxic fumes, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the James Zardoga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on Wednesday by a vote of 268-160.
“After a nine year wait, the House of Representatives finally did the right thing. This is the day we repay our debts to the 9/11 heroes. This is truly a gratifying moment,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D- Kew Gardens) in a statement.
The bill will provide health care coverage to first responders and individuals directly impacted by the terrorist attacks. The next obstacle for the bill is to pass a full Senate vote.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a chief sponsor of the bill, issued a statement commending the House and promising she’d do whatever possible to pass the bill in the Senate.
“This should not be a partisan issue. We have an undeniable, moral obligation to pass this legislation and provide care to the thousands of heroes and survivors who are suffering, dying, and waiting for us to deliver the care they need,” said Gillibrand. “It’s time to seize every opportunity, pass this legislation, and keep our promise to the heroes of this country who came to our rescue on 9/11.”
In July, the bill did not receive enough votes to pass, which lead to the much-publicized outburst on the House floor from Weiner.