Entries in 9/11 Health Bill (2)


Obama Signs 9/11 First Responders Health Care Bill

Photo Courtesy - White House/Pete Souza(KAILUA, Hawaii) -- President Obama signed the 9/11 responders bill while on vacation at his beachfront rental home in Kailua, Hawaii.

The $4.2 billion bill passed unanimously in the final week of Congress’ session before lawmakers adjourned for the year.

"I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students, and others suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need," Obama said in a statement released after he signed the bill Sunday. 

"We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers and first responders who risked their lives to save others.  I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks," he said.

Under the deal worked out in the Senate and approved in the House, the total cost of the bill over 10 years would be reduced from $6.2 billion to $4.2 billion.  Of that $4.2 billion, $1.5 billion will go to health benefits for the first responders, while $2.7 billion will go to compensation for them.

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White House Says Comedian Jon Stewart 'Put Awareness' On 9/11 Health Bill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images for Comedy Central(WASHINGTON) -- The White House said Tuesday that comedian Jon Stewart has "put the awareness" around the 9/11 health care responders legislation, hoping that will lead to additional Republican votes for the bill.

"If there's the ability for that to sort of breakthrough in our political environment, I think there's a good chance that he can help do that," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. "I think he has put the awareness around this legislation -- he's put that awareness into what you guys cover each day, and I think that's good."

Last Thursday Jon Stewart devoted an episode of The Daily Show to the bill, a move that raised the public profile of the story, helping to bring the issue into the national spotlight.  Gibbs said Tuesday that he hopes Stewart can convince the Republicans further in a final push for passage.

"It seems, at the end of a long year, around the holiday season, a pretty awful thing to play politics about. But that's a decision that 42 Republican senators are going to have to make."

Likewise on Capitol Hill, Stewart is getting praise for putting a spotlight on the issue.

"We were making significant progress, but Jon Stewart really took the push for the 9/11 bill into overdrive by doing two separate nights' worth of coverage last week, and drawing attention to this that the networks had not," Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement Monday.

"He did a good thing," Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., told ABC News when asked on Capitol Hill. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio