Fox News: Some Lawmakers Using 9/11 First Responders Bill As a Bargaining Chip
BAIER: "To a story that we’ll have you shaking your head probably. It concerns the effort to care for some of the most remarkable heroes this country has ever seen and why their health and survival has now become a political football. Senior correspondent Rick Leventhal has our report from New York.
LEVENTHAL: " Thousands of first responders rushed to the twin towers on 9/11 and weekend around the clock in the weeks and months that followed. Recovering remains and clearing debris. But the air was toxic and the suffering has been epic.
LEVENTHAL (voice-over): "23 New York City police officers perished on that day. Since that time we’ve lost another 115. Who have passed due to illnesses that they contracted during their time working at the 9/11 site. This country has an obligation, it has an obligation, it has a debt to those who went toward the danger and stayed in danger.
LEVENTHAL: " 70,000 first responders and survivors are being monitored for 9/11-related illnesses, almost half of them have symptoms, including cancer and respiratory diseases. They’ve been helped by an act that provides health care and compensation for those who risk their lives on the pile. But Congress failed to renew the program and the money is running out. First responders have been lobbying lawmakers to permanently extend the zydroga act. New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand says her colleagues should be ashamed."
GILLIBRAND: "The lack of urgency and empathy is shocking. But they come down week after week and tell their stories. And it’s their stories that are making the difference."
LEVENTHAL: " Both the house and Senate have enough votes to extend zydroga. But some lawmakers have used it as a bargaining chip. Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan assured the bill’s supporters, that the bill will be included in one of the major spending packages that Congress is expected to approve before adjourning for the holidays. The new bill would extend benefits for 75 more years at a cost of more than $8 billion. Supporters says it’s money that must be spent on American heroes fighting for their lives."
BAIER: "Thank you."