Volume 20, Number 38 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 8 - 14, 201
Rally around the country for Zadroga legislation
Since the Zadroga bill flopped last July in the House of Representatives, advocates have been trying to spread the word that its passage is not simply a New York issue. A rally last Friday, some 2,700 miles away from Ground Zero, should help.
In early August Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge introduced a citywide resolution calling on the passage of the 9/11 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act Bill, named after the late NYPD detective. On Friday officials from Los Angeles fire and police departments joined him to rally in support of the bill’s passage.
“Brave men and women from New York and across the nation worked tirelessly at Ground Zero, including some of our own Los Angeles firefighters and police officers,” Councilmember LaBonge said at the rally. “The Zadroga Bill needs to pass because we can no longer ignore the very serious health and economic needs of our nation’s heroes.”
The west-coast rally took place in front of a 23-ton steel column which sits outside Los Angeles’ Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center, an “in-service” training facility for the LAFD. The column, which helped make up part of the lobby in the South Tower, was transported to Los Angeles after the terrorist attacks and stands a memorial to the city’s fallen residents.
In his resolution, LaBonge cites the more than 10,000 volunteers who traveled to the site in the days after the event. Out of 435 congressional districts throughout the country, 432 have reported sending volunteers to Ground Zero to help in the rebuilding efforts.
The bill, if enacted, would extend healthcare rights to victims in all 50 states.
LaBonge said, “The City of Los Angeles and the city council and its 4 million residents, stand in solidarity with the City of New York.”
The bill is expected to come before the House again later this month when Congress reconvenes from recess on September 14. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also has said he hopes to bring the bill to the senate floor in September. And in mid-August President Obama, for the first time, announced support for the bill.
One advocacy group does not want to wait to see when Congress will begin debating the bill. The Fealgood Foundation was started by 9/11 First Responder John Feal and is sponsoring a rally in Washington, D.C. on September 15. According to its website, the group plans to “demand a floor date in September and a regular up and down rules vote” on the bill.
In July, the house chose to bring the vote to the floor “under suspension of rules” in an attempt to pass the bill without any amendments, but fell short of the required two-thirds majority vote.
— John Bayles