By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — A bill that would provide healthcare for first responders and residents who got sick after 9/11 will get its first hearing in the US Senate later this month.
“This is a crucial step,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said as she announced the June 29 hearing Friday morning across from the World Trade Center site. “We have an undeniable moral obligation to provide the healthcare and treatment these men and women deserve.”
The $11 billion James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would reopen the victims’ compensation fund and provide medical monitoring and treatment for the first responders, residents, workers and students who fell ill after being exposed to toxins on 9/11.
The bill is named for James Zadroga, an NYPD detective who died in 2006 after spending more than 400 hours on the pile at Ground Zero.
The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, will hold the June 29 hearing.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who joined Gillibrand at Friday’s announcement, said her goal is to put the bill on President Obama’s desk by the nine-year anniversary of the attacks this September.
“The least we can do as a prosperous nation is to take care of the men and women who took care of us,” Maloney said.
Last month, the House version of the Zadroga Act cleared a key hurdle when the Energy and Commerce Committee passed it.
Obama has not committed to sign the bill, but Gillibrand said Friday that she was working closely with his administration to move it forward.