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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: A 9/11 HEALTH CRISIS FIRST: FED MONEY FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT
From Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:00 am to Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:59 am (included)
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Press Release:


For Immediate Release

October 27, 2006


Alex Detrick (Schumer)


Nina Blackwell (Clinton)

917-584-4314 (cell)

Allyn Brooks-LaSure (Menendez)


Chris Bender (Lautenberg)


Afshin Mohamadi (Maloney)


202-225-3793 (cell)

Sherry Diamond (Fossella)

718-753-5174 (cell)


Senators Schumer, Clinton, Lautenberg, Menendez, Reps. Maloney and Fossella applaud action

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the federal government announced they were distributing $40 million in funds for the medical treatment of those exposed to the toxic air around Ground Zero.

Shortly before the fifth anniversary of 9/11, at a meeting arranged by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Vito Fossella (R-NY) with Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and New York-area Members of Congress, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt agreed to expedite the distribution of this money. It was originally planned to go out over a period of as many as three years.

The $40 million announced today is part of the $75 million for treatment and medical monitoring included in the $125 million for 9-11 responders that was originally rescinded in the Administration's budget, but was successfully restored by the New York Area Delegation last year. These funds mark the very first federal dollars spent for treating those suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.

“On September 11th 2001, thousands of brave men and women rushed to Ground Zero to assist in the recovery effort in any way they could,” said Senator Schumer. “While they courageously risked their lives in a time of national crisis, today the health of many first responders continues to suffer from their heroic work. The money released today is a good step in ensuring that all first responders and those affected by the toxic air at Ground Zero get the treatment they need.”

“Last year, we restored $125 million so that it would be available for the continued recovery from the September 11, 2001 attacks and could be used for ongoing medical and mental health treatment,” Senator Clinton said. “We know from recent work by Mount Sinai, the FDNY and others that many heroes who rushed to Ground Zero and Fresh Kills are experiencing medical problems and we must take care of them. They came to our rescue in our time of need and we must do the same. I am grateful that the Department of Health and Human Services is distributing a significant amount of the $75 million we secured so that we can continue to do what is right for these heroes. We have a long way to go to fully address all of the outstanding needs of people who were exposed to toxins and I will continue to push legislation to fully address these needs.”

“Many of the brave Americans who toiled at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 attacks are still suffering because of their service,” Senator Menendez said. “I was proud to work alongside colleagues in both chambers of Congress to ensure these Americans receive the medical treatment they need. These funds will allow our nation to stand by those who stood by America in her darkest hour.”

“We owe nothing less to those who risked their lives at Ground Zero than compensation for the injuries and illnesses they incurred. They risked their lives to save others and today we are providing them with funds for the care they need,” Senator Frank R. Lautenberg said. “We should move quickly to do more, not only for our first-responders but for all of those who suffered on September 11th.”

“I am gratified that the first federal money for treatment of 9/11-related illness has finally been sent,” said Representative Maloney. “I am glad that Secretary Leavitt acted swiftly on the request the New York-area delegation made last month -- he and his point person, Dr. John Howard, should be commended for this action. We hope that the administration will now finally begin creating a long-term, comprehensive plan to take care of all affected rescue and recovery workers, residents, office workers and school children and that adequate funding will appear in the president’s next budget. This is not just a five year health crisis, it’s a crisis that doctors say could last decades, and the federal response should reflect that reality.”

“I’m extremely pleased the $75 million we secured for medical treatment will finally be used to help suffering 9-11 first responders. I applaud Secretary Leavitt in acting quickly on our request to get this funding out in October. The secretary and his point person, Dr. John Howard, expedited our request, and they have made sure the funds would be available based on need and not an artificial spending rate,” said Fossella. “While we must continue pushing the federal government to develop a long term plan to monitor and treat all those afflicted with 9-11 related illnesses, today’s announcement is a great start. I also want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for lobbying the government tirelessly on this issue and announcing new efforts by the City to strengthen treatment and monitoring services for the men and women who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center.”
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