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Zadroga Bill: 9/11 Health Bill Passes House

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on September 30, 2010 12:47 PM

On September 29, the House of Representatives passed legislation known as the Zadroga Bill. This bill, if signed into law, will provide free health benefits for first responders to the attacks on 9/11. The bill was passed mostly on party lines by a vote of 268-160.

The full name of the legislation is the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The New York Daily News reports the bill will provide ongoing health benefits and more than $7 billion in compensation to the 9/11 rescue workers. The money is aimed at those with ailments linked to the toxic conditions at Ground Zero.

However, despite the common cause that usually surrounds anything to do with the 9/11 attacks, there was divisive debate before the vote. The Daily News reports that Republican representatives branded the bill another "entitlement" from big government. One GOP member, Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) called the bill "irresponsible overreach" and questioned the circumstances of the death of its namesake, NYPD Det. James Zadroga. CNN reports a New York coroner stated Zadroga, a police detective, died in January of respiratory failure which was linked to the toxic air at the World Trade Center site. At the time of his death, Zadroga was 34 years-old.

Three Democrats also voted against the Zadroga bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) says the bill is fully paid for and will not increase the deficit, reports the Daily News. However, the bill still must pass in the Senate where majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he will get it to a vote by attaching it to the defense spending bill which will come up for consideration after the November elections.

The best summation of the House action on the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was reported by CNN and came from Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). "Today, we put aside a little politics and we did a little right and a little good."

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