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9/11 compensation bill nearing a vote

Editors of The National Review Online have written a concise summary of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, and all that is wrong with the legislation. From NRO's editorial today, "A 9/11 Bonanza for Trial Lawyers":

The Senate will soon vote on legislation that would establish a new government-run health-care program with insufficient oversight controls, create a bonanza for trial lawyers, cost a minimum of $11.6 billion, and be funded primarily through a significant tax hike on U.S.-based companies.

Of course, that's not how the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is being sold.

Supporters of the bill have countered the substantive policy objections with the the powerful political formula of emotion and patriotism. Last week, for example, they unveiled an exhibit in Washington of 29 replica police badges from officers who died after clean-up work at or near Ground Zero.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says Majority Leader Reid intends to file cloture on the bill with debate to start Wednesday. In a statement, she said: "Let's put politics aside, engage in a thorough and respectful debate, and then let each senator decide for themselves whether the heroes and victims of September 11th deserve quality health treatment and appropriate compensation for their tremendous loss and sacrifice."

Quite the rhetorical trick, there: Let's put politics aside, and if you vote against the bill, you're voting against heroes and victims who made a tremendous sacrifice.

So will critics be allowed to observe that Officer Zadroga's death was NOT the result of exposure to 9/11 debris, or is that not respectful?*

* The New York Times, Sept. 7, 2008, "New Doubts That Dust Killed a 9/11 Rescuer," which also reports:

Mr. Barasch, the lawyer, said the Zadrogas had no plans to file a lawsuit against the city. They merely wanted recognition that Detective Zadroga was a victim of 9/11, he said, and were satisfied when the mayor and the police commissioner added his name to the Wall of Heroes at 1 Police Plaza, recognizing him as a victim of the trade center attacks. ''The Zadrogas want nothing more except to allow their son to now rest in peace,'' Mr. Barasch said.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.