NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, September 30, 2015,
A national disgrace befalls America at midnight Wednesday at the expiration of legislation authorizing compensation and medical care for rescue and recovery workers sickened by their Ground Zero service after 9/11.
The expiration of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act forces health centers that treat 33,000 to prepare for closure as their bank accounts run out.
Thanks to Republican opposition in 2010 the law carried a five-year sunset. Thanks to continued Republican opposition men and women face the loss of expert care even as they suffer from horrendous lung and gastrointestinal ailments, along with a growing variety of cancers.
Lobbying, which should have been unnecessary, by family members and comedian Jon Stewart has begun to build support.
Over the last few days, a half dozen Senate Republicans have joined as co-sponsors: Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia, Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, Jerry Moran from Kansas, Roy Blunt from Missouri, Joni Ernst from Iowa and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina.
Graham is the first Republican presidential candidate to sponsor the bill. Disgracefully, he has yet to be joined by Senate colleagues who are also seeking the White House. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are betraying Americans who sacrificed their health and, in some cases, their lives.
The co-sponsorship tally now comprises a Senate majority — but it has yet to hit the 60-vote magic number to ensure passage.
The roster of sponsors in the House has grown to 181, with 218 votes needed for passage.
With hard pushing by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, momentum is building. Let’s keep it going, and let’s pass the bill ASAP.