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$70 Million for 9/11 Health Care in House Bill

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: $70 Million for 9/11 Health Care in House Bill
From Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:00 am to Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:59 am (included)
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For Immediate Release: February 24, 2009

Contacts: Joe Soldevere (Maloney), 212-860-0606

Ilan Kayatsky (Nadler), 202-225-5635

Carol Danko (King), 202-225-7896

Lauren Amendolara (McMahon), 202-225-8420

$70 Million for 9/11 Health Care in House Bill

-NY Reps. Applaud Appropriations Cmte. Chairman Obey

For Fully Funding WTC Health Programs This Year-

Washington, D.C. – Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Michael McMahon (D-NY) announced that the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 1105) contains $70 million in new funding for federal 9/11 health programs. The House is likely to pass the omnibus spending bill tomorrow. The new funding, combined with $112 million carried over from previous years, would cover the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program’s $182 million estimated cost for FY 2009.

The Members of Congress thanked Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) for his ongoing commitment to funding 9/11 health care. The $410 billion omnibus bill encompasses nine separate appropriations measures that stalled last year when the Bush administration insisted on preserving severe cuts to health care, education, law enforcement, and other programs contained in its FY 2009 budget proposal. The omnibus bill is an agreement between the House and Senate and will likely be sent to President Obama’s desk in its current form.

“This funding will keep the doors of our 9/11 health clinics open for another year,” said Rep. Maloney, “and with the support of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, I’m hopeful that we’ll pass comprehensive legislation to address the 9/11 health crisis in the coming months. I thank my friend and colleague David Obey for his unshakeable commitment to 9/11 health care. Chairman Obey has truly been a hero for the heroes of 9/11.”

“This additional $70 million is part of an essential funding stream which will provide a total of $182 million this year for the World Trade Center health centers,” said Rep. Nadler. “Congressman David Obey’s efforts to keep the funding in the federal budget are tremendous and much appreciated. This money is literally a lifeline for thousands of first responders and community members who are sick as a result of exposure to 9/11 contaminants. Ultimately, though, our best way forward now is to pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that, each and every year, there is enough funding for those living with 9/11-borne illnesses.”

“It’s been over seven years since the heroes of 9/11 were exposed to the dust cloud, yet the health effects from exposure continue to develop,” said King. “Constant monitoring and treatment are essential to the health of all who were exposed and I am pleased that this money has been included so that this vital program can continue.”

“We owe it to those who courageously aided the recovery efforts following the horrific events of 9/11 to provide them with quality health care services,” said Rep. McMahon. “This funding provides critical support for screening, counseling and treatment to the brave rescue workers, as well as others affected by the aftermath of 9/11.”

Earlier this month, Maloney, Nadler, King, McMahon, and their colleagues in the New York congressional delegation reintroduced the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847), which would provide critical health care and compensation for those sickened or injured in the aftermath of 9/11. The Members of Congress hope to pass the bill this year with President Obama’s support.

The relevant section of the Omnibus Appropriations Act states that “$70,000,000 shall be available until expended to provide screening and treatment for first response emergency services personnel, residents, students, and others related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.” The bill’s explanatory statement says that “for the World Trade Center (WTC) Medical Monitoring and Treatment program, the fiscal year 2009 program level is $182,000,000. Approximately $112,000,000 in carryover balances from prior year appropriated funds are available in fiscal year 2009. Combined with the $70,000,000 included in this bill, the total amount available for the WTC program is sufficient to continue to expand the program in the New York City area and around the country for first response emergency personnel, residents, students, and others whose health has been impacted from exposure to toxins in or around the WTC site.”

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