New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg came through Washington on Tuesday to lobby for Senate passage of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a $7.1 billion bill that would re-open the 9/11 compensation fund for new payments, especially for claims based on health problems resulting from debris removal.
The Washington Post took note of the mayor's trip with a large Style Section piece on his political ambitions, "N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg: He says he won't run for president, but keep asking."
As for the legislation, supporters are pinning their hopes on another New York pol. The New York Daily News reports, "Unions and sick 9/11 responders agree only Sen. Chuck Schumer can seal deal to pass Zadroga Bill."
Interestingly, there was a drive-time radio ad this morning on WMAL here in Washington, a spot voiced by a man with a heavy NYC accent pleading for aid for firefighters and policeman. Assume it was a union-paid spot; we didn't hear any disclaimer. (Here's a list of groups that lobbied for the bill, which passed the House in September.)
As Ted -- who has testified on the bill -- has pointed out, the legislation will produce "what will be inevitable multi-billion-dollar fraud on the taxpayers." Trial lawyers filing claims will do well, however.
Outside of the New York delegation and NYC press, we don't see much activity on the bill. And circling back to Mayor Bloomberg, we see that The New York Post was more skeptical of his D.C. trip, "Mike's sketchy pitch." The Post provides a helpful reminder: The NYC policeman after whom the bill is named, James Zadroga, died not from toxic fumes but from injecting prescription drugs.
Without a doubt, everyone injured on 9/11 and in its aftermath has earned the government's largess. But the Zadroga Bill does nothing to encourage honest claims from 9/11 victims.
It remains that nine years after the attack, doctors can't conclusively identify a single person who succumbed to Ground Zero's toxic air.
Pretending otherwise makes Mike, and all New Yorkers, look foolish and greedy.