U.S. Congress vote to provide free health care for 9/11 responders

10:35, December 23, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to pass a healthcare package and economic aid for people who fell sick after inhaling toxic fume from the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City's World Trade Center.

The package, which cleared the Senate earlier with a voice vote, passed the House with a 206-60 vote. The 4.2-billion-dollar package provides free health care and compensation for lost wages and other economic losses to first-responders for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and survivors who fell ill after being exposed to toxins from the ground zero ruins.

The program covers firefighters, police officers and construction workers who rushed to the smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and worked at the site in the following months.

The bill was a compromise between Democrats and Republicans, which trimmed the package from 6.2 billion dollars down to 4.2 billion. New York Democrat Charles Schumer and Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn hammered out the deal, allowing the Congress to adjourn on Wednesday and head home before Christmas.

Many of the first-responders and clean-up workers were exposed to toxic substances that erupted into the atmosphere when the towers collapsed. The health benefits program will also help residents in the immediate surrounding area who came down with illnesses after the attack.

The bipartisan agreement reduced the length of the authorization from eight years to five years, cutting its cost from 6.2 billion to 4.2 billion.

It authorizes a new health benefits program and extends the victims' compensation fund for five years, allowing affected workers and residents to file new claims.

The legislation is largely paid for by imposing a 2-percent fee on companies based in countries that have not signed a government procurement agreement with the United States.

Source: Xinhua
  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Focus On China
  • Shanghai World Expo 2010
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Ancient kiln, cache of copper coins excavated in Shaanxi
  • Bank note with face value of 6 billion displayed in Guangzhou
  • 79 kg super dumpling breaks world record in Hebei
  • Argentina declares yellow alert for high temperatures
  • Oil price in Argentina rises after regulation cancelled
  • Pakistani security force seizes arms, ammunition from militants
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion