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September 29, 2010

Velázquez on H.R. 847, the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act”

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today during debate on H.R. 847, the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.” Following are her remarks:

“Mr. Speaker, as is often the case with disasters, on 9/11 -- and in the weeks that followed -- the best of America was on display. Neighborhoods came together to comfort and support one another. Communities in every corner of the country rallied together. In New York City, our brave first responders answered the call valiantly, putting their lives at risk to protect the rest of us.

“Over the last the nine years, the full scope of this tragedy’s health effects has become increasingly clear. Firefighters, police officers, EMTs and rescue workers are all suffering respiratory problems. Even school children and those who work in the area have exhibited health problems. It is estimated that 36,000 people have sought treatment after being exposed to the toxic dust at the World Trade Center site.

“It is not just New Yorkers who are affected. 10,000 people travelled from every state of the union including Puerto Rico and the territories to assist in the aftermath of the attacks. Like all of America, these heroes were a diverse group, representing every age, race, religion and even status. No one asked them their citizenship status when they stepped in to help. They were all there and they were all heroes. This legislation will provide needed benefits for all those suffering from the toxins they were exposed to.

“This is the right thing to do. These brave individuals cast aside their own safety to assist their fellow human beings. Thank you and I yield back.”