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Friday, January 29, 2010

9/11 Health Bill Funding Opposed By Obama?

When I saw the headline at The New York Daily News site, "NY pols stunned to learn Obama administration opposes funding for 9/11 health bill", I thought it had to be one of those headlines meant to catch the eye but that the story didn't justify.. had to be right?

Nope.. they have quotes from two New York state Senators that participated in the meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

So the legislators were floored to learn the Democratic administration does not want to deliver for the tens of thousands of people who sacrificed after 9/11, and the untold numbers now getting sick.

"I was stunned — and very disappointed," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who like most of the other legislators had expected more of a discussion on how to more forward.

"To say the least, I was flabbergasted," said Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon.

The 9/11 bill would spend about $11 billion over 30 years to care for the growing numbers of people getting sick from their service at Ground Zero, and to compensate families for their losses.

We are talking about hundreds of men and women that responded at ground zero, digging for survivors and removing the bodies and/or body parts of those that were murdered in the horrible terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001 that killed almost 3,000 people.

"She made it clear that the administration does not support any kind of funding mechanism that goes into the bill," said Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel. "I think it's fiscal restraint… but you know what? They find money for everything else, they need to find money for this," Engel said.

"We were attacked because we're a symbol of our country." McMahon was furious that caring for the heroes of Sept. 11 would take a back seat to anything but military funding.

"I thought there was a complete lack of understanding of the issue by the secretary and quite frankly, I did not expect that lack of compassion and failure to understand the urgency of the issue."

Victims and advocates of 9/11 families are similarly stunned. Lorie Van Auken, whose husband died on 9/11 and who supports the White House in its push to try the terrorists in New York, was crestfallen at the news.

"I thought that these people would be taken care of. I would have expected better from this administration," Van Auken said, adding that she thought it sends the wrong message to all of America's would-be heroes that the government won't be there for them.

Words fail me.