Editorial – A Timely Awakening by Chairman Fred Upton on Zadroga Bill

NY Daily News

One of the most powerful Republicans in Washington set a grand example for representatives of both parties on Thursday by endorsing legislation to extend health care and compensation for sickened 9/11 responders.

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton got behind reauthorizing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is set to expire next year.

As chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, one of the most powerful panels in Congress, this guy should have the juice to lead Republicans into allocating money that’s needed only because his party balked at a full commitment five years ago.

Then again, convincing may come easier this time. As many members, Upton included, said during a hearing, ailing responders live in 429 of 435 congressional districts.

This time, no one questioned the wisdom of the World Trade Center health czar who was appointed by George W. Bush and reappointed by Barack Obama.

“You can’t abandon a patient,” said the redoubtable Dr. John Howard, who has fought the battle all the way.

Spearheaded by New Yorkers Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler and Pete King, the House measure has sponsors from 22 different states. As Upton said:

“The bill needs to be passed.”

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