WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) applauded Senate passage of the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act,” which came after Democrats overcame months of Republican opposition.  Lautenberg is a cosponsor of the bill, which seeks to provide health care for first responders and workers sickened by toxic exposure resulting from the World Trade Center attacks.

“The Ground Zero workers and their families should be proud of the work they did to help us achieve this emotional and hard fought victory,” Lautenberg said. “Thousands of New Jersey’s first responders and workers who answered the call to service in the wake of September 11th will now be guaranteed the benefits they deserve.  It is shameful that we had to fight back Republican opposition to achieve this victory, but we are finally on track to fulfill the moral mandate we have to our war wounded.”

Nearly 14,000 workers and 2,400 community residents are sick from being exposed to toxic dust at Ground Zero.  An additional 70,000 people, including 8,000 New Jerseyans, are being monitored for health effects.

Lautenberg is a co-sponsor of the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.”  The legislation would create a fund to pay for the monitoring and treatment of health conditions that resulted from the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.  In addition, the bill would reopen the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to applications from individuals who did not apply because they were not sick at the time of the filing deadline in December 2003.

The bill must now receive final approval in the House of Representatives.