NEW YORK—President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, H.R. 847, on Sunday while on vacation in Kailua, Hawaii. The bill will bring $4.2 billion in aid to approximately 60,000 people who contracted illnesses from toxins at the World Trade Center site. Those affected were first responders after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“At long last, the president’s signature has ended our nine-year struggle to address the 9/11 health crisis,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), one of the sponsors of the act. “The Zadroga law will save lives and fulfills our moral obligation to care for those who rose to the defense of America in a time of war,” she added.
Zadroga was an NYPD officer who died in 2006 from what is believed to be an illness contracted at the World Trade Center site. The act was first introduced in February 2009 by Reps. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), and Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.).
It met with opposition from Republicans worried about its original price tag of $7.2 billion. After negotiations and concessions, the bill passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate on Dec. 22, 2010. With Obama’s approval, supporters of the bill are celebrating the finalization of this hard-won victory.
"The tenth anniversary of the attacks is later this year and I am encouraged that our elected representatives in Washington came together and stood by those who were there for America in its hour of greatest need," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement. "In addition to President Obama, I want to thank all of those involved in the passage of this bill, especially Senators Schumer and Gillibrand; and Representatives Maloney, King, and Nadler,” said Bloomberg.