John Feal, flanked by Rep Steve J. Israel (D-NY) (L) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) (C), talks about his injuries during a news conference about illnesses that 9/11 responders have reported.
“Why have you failed us? We thought you were our champion,” John Feal wrote to the President of the United States.
After the Daily News made the letter public, the White House revealed that President Obama, once Congress passes the bill, would sign the legislation that provides aid to the first responders who are suffering or dying from illnesses contracted while they worked at Ground Zero.
But that’s not enough for Feal.
In an interview with NBC New York, he said he wants the President to go to bat for the responders and persuade Congress to pass the bill in the immediate future. Feal, who lost half his foot after it was crushed by a steel beam as he supervised a demolition crew on September 17, 2001, said: “I applaud the President for responding to our plea. But he didn’t say he supports our bill. We need him to be our champion.”
Thousands of people worked at Ground Zero after the attacks. Feal says more than 900 have died since 9/11. Responders from 17 states came to the disaster site to help.
“I just want the President to put pressure on Congress to do the right thing. It’s disturbing that he had the time and energy to speak in favor of the mosque but not on the health care crisis caused by the attacks."
Mayor Bloomberg appealed to Congress to pass the bill. “Let’s honor the first responders and other survivors of 9/11,” he said, “by ensuring that they get the health care they deserve.”
Among the poisonous substances first responders encountered at Ground Zero were asbestos, dioxins, benzene, lead, mercury and powdered glass.
The proposed $7.4 billion law named for the late Detective James Zadroga would provide health care and compensation for thousands who contracted illnesses after working at Ground Zero.
Told of Obama’s promise to sign the bill if Congress acts, Joseph Zadroga, father of James, said: “I’m glad to hear it. He originally said he was going to support it before he got elected and then we never heard anything about it again. Now we need to get Congress to do their part and we’re ready to go.”
From his lips to Nancy Pelosi’s ears! And Harry Reid’s too!
The politicians in Washington need to listen.