By Jordan Heller
MANHATTAN — Ailing 9/11 responders finally got some relief on Sunday when President Barack Obama signed the Zadroga bill into law.
The legislation, which was passed in the final days of the 111th Congress, will bring $4.3 billion of health care and compensation to emergency workers sickened at Ground Zero.
"At long last, the President's signature has ended our nine-year struggle to address the 9/11 health crisis," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, one of the authors of the legislation, in a statement.
With the president on vacation in Hawaii, the signing event did not include the usual fanfare and ceremony involving advocates and sponsoring lawmakers.
The low key signing of such a major piece of legislation was in part due to time pressure. Without Obama's signature, the Zadroga bill would have become meaningless at midnight on Tuesday, when the 111th Congress ceases to exist.
With a Republican-controlled House obsessed with budget-cutting taking over, the bill — which was named after fallen NYPD detective James Zadroga — would have likely floundered in the new congress.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a co-author of the legislation, rejoiced at the president's signing of the bill into law.
"It is clear that the government has not forgotten the thousands who have served and suffered," he said in a statement.
Michael Bloomberg also weighed in on the bill's signing, saying, ""The tenth anniversary of the attacks is later this year and I am encouraged that our elected representatives in Washington came together and stood by those who were there for America in its hour of greatest need."
Rep. Peter King, another co-author of the bill, called it "a great victory for the heroes of Sept. 11."
"Justice is finally being served," said King.
The Zadroga benefits kick in July 1.