Thursday, March 22, 2007

NYC mayor asks Congress: Reopen 9/11 fund

REOPEN FUND FOR ALL THE RESCUE AND RECOVERY WORKERS AND VOLUNTEERS NOT JUST THE PAID UNIFORMS!

ASSOCIATED PRESS
1:21 p.m. March 21, 2007

WASHINGTON – The mayor of New York City asked Congress on Wednesday to reopen the government fund for victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks – and spare his city the prospect of losing billions of dollars in related lawsuits.

The fund closed in December 2003, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a Senate panel that federal help is needed for those sickened years after the attacks.

“The mere fact that their injuries and illnesses have been slower to emerge should not disqualify them from getting the help that they need,” Bloomberg said.

Congress created the $7 billion September 11th Victim Compensation Fund soon after the attacks, and it immediately became the subject of intense debate among victims' family members and politicians for the rules by which it distributed money.

Bloomberg appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where Democrats have pledged to do more for sick ground zero workers than the Republican-controlled Congress did in past years.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has long sought more federal aid for ground zero workers, said after the hearing that she is considering, but not committed to, reopening the fund.

The New York Democrat, who is also running for president, said Congress had no answers yet on exactly how such a fund would work or how much it would cost.

“We're looking at all of this,” she said. “Our goal is to try to get help to as many people as possible.”

The original federal aid package created a $1 billion insurance fund to cover injury claims by city workers and construction workers at the World Trade Center site, which was cak"

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