Monday, February 23, 2009

New York lawmakers ask Obama to rehire 9/11 health czar

by Associated Press Monday February 23, 2009, 4:21 PM

NEW YORK — New York lawmakers and Sept. 11 health advocates urged President Obama on Monday to rehire a World Trade Center health czar who was let go last year by the Bush administration.

John Howard's six-year term as director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health expired last July and he was not asked to stay on.

Since 2006, Howard had become the government's point person for post-Sept. 11 illness. He often found himself at odds with the Bush administration in his advocacy for a federal program to monitor and treat thousands who said they were sickened by exposure to toxic trade center dust.

Sept. 11 health advocates had said his departure could jeopardize future funding.

"The Bush administration made a good decision in appointing Dr. Howard and a typically bad move in letting him go," U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said Monday at a news conference at ground zero.

The White House didn't immediately comment Monday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named an acting director to take over for Howard, while Howard took another job at the CDC.

An e-mail to Howard wasn't immediately returned Monday.

The government last year halted its plan for a national monitoring program, saying it was too costly. Several members of New York's congressional delegation reintroduced a bill to create the program earlier this month.

Source: AP - Link

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