Entries in First Responders (6)


Paul Ryan Thanks First Responders in Wisconsin on 9/11

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(OAK CREEK, Wis.) -- Paul Ryan returned home to his Wisconsin congressional district on Tuesday and visited first responders on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The GOP’s vice presidential nominee -- and also still a candidate for reelection to Congress -- visited the Oak Creek fire and rescue where he chatted with firefighters and addressed the group before joining them for lunch.

“I just wanted to come on the anniversary of 9/11 and say thank you to all of you who are first responders for what you do for us every day,” Ryan told them.  “This is a day where we as Americans need to think and remember the people who lost their lives and be thankful for those of you who put your lives on the line for us every day.  So we are here simply to bring notoriety and a gift of thanks for what you do for us on a daily basis.”

Ryan then said, “ Let’s dig in” before serving himself and others lasagna and salad for lunch.

Oak Creek is the same city where a mass shooting took place on Aug. 5 at a Sikh temple, killing six worshippers.

Earlier in Milwaukee, Ryan made a separate stop to visit with about 100 members of the 128th Air Refueling Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.  Many of the members have been constantly serving in the Middle East since Sept. 11, 2001.

Like he did with the first responders, Ryan thanked them, this time as a neighbor.

“I live down the street in Janesville,” Ryan said.  “I know a lot of you live in the area.  A number of us have met over the years.  I have been flying into this airport for a long time back and forth from Washington to see my family.  But when we hit the ground today flying home, this day meant a bit more because this is the anniversary of 9/11.”

Ryan continued to thank the group, “For what you do to make us safe.  For what you do to make us proud.  For what you do to remember what it all counts.”

The Wisconsin congressman is fresh off a west coast fundraising swing after stops in California, Portland, Ore., and Seattle.  On Wednesday, his congressional campaign launches ads in Wisconsin backing his House race, a day before the Romney campaign also goes up in the air in the Badger state.  

Ryan’s selection has put this state that was decidedly Democratic in play.  Wisconsin hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan took the state in 1984.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


House Passes 9/11 First Responders Bill; Next Stop: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The House has just passed the 9/11 Health & Compensation Act by a vote of 206-60.
The last hurrah of the Pelosi House struggled to gain enough members present to form a quorum, with 168 representatives not even bothering to show up to vote -- including House Republican Leader John Boehner.
One member of the New York delegation made sure she didn't miss her opportunity to stand up for New York's rescue workers. The vote was held open almost an hour to enable Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., to make her way to the floor to vote in favor of passage.
The vote was called by Pelosi, in what will likely be her last public act as Speaker of the House in the wake of devastating Democrat House losses in the 2010 Midterm Elections.
The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


'Where's His Heart?' Dem Senators & First Responders Rip Coburn For Opposing 9/11 Health Bill  

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A group of senators from New York and New Jersey Tuesday joined with dozens of first responders to blast Republican opposition to the 9/11 health bill as the measure's chances of passage dim with each passing day before Christmas.

"I believe we have the votes to prevail. The only thing standing in our way is people who will try to run out the clock," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Schumer was referring to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who has vowed to oppose the bill -- a move that could derail its chances of passage since every bit of time is precious as Christmas approaches.

Earlier Tuesday Coburn, a doctor, told Fox News that the bill's chances of passage are "doubtful."

"Their hearts are in a good place. Their heads [are] not in a good place," Coburn said of the bill's supporters. "We can do this next year, and we should."

"This is a bill," he said, "that's been drawn up and forced through Congress at the end of the year on a basis to solve a problem that we didn't have time to solve and we didn't get done."

Tuesday Schumer fired back, "That is not fair, not right, and that flies in the face of America."

"Please don't stop this bill," he pleaded. "If it doesn't happen now it is unlikely to ever happen again."

John Feal, the founder of the FealGood foundation, a non-profit organization pushing for the bill's passage -- ripped into Coburn.

"Where's his heart?" asked Feal. "Because it's not in the right place. These men and women behind me have gone eight Christmases suffering without any help from the federal government, so I question his heart."

"This man is a doctor. He took an oath to help people. He shouldn't be a senator and he shouldn't be a doctor if he's going to go out there and attack this bill. A doctor who's against helping people who are sick? Figure that out," said Feal.

Feal urged Congress to act on the bill before it adjourns for the year, and also lashed out at President Obama during the press conference, who Feal accuses of not doing enough to push the bill. "What happened that our president can't come out and support heroes? Someone please answer that," Feal pleaded.

His criticism of Obama was echoed by Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who called out Obama: "Mr. President, please step up to the mound." Maloney said.

Even if the Senate passes the bill in the final days before Christmas, the holiday could still present an obstacle because the House would have to pass it again due to the recent changes. While the House could ultimately pass the bill by unanimous consent, there is no guarantee that it would be able to before time on the year's legislative clock runs out.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Dems Confident on 9/11 Responder Bill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate could vote Tuesday on a bill that will guarantee medical care to rescue workers who became sick after 9/11, pushing forward legislation once rejected by Republicans and which proponents say was long ignored by the White House.

New York lawmakers have made a strong push in recent days to get the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act passed this week, giving the law its last best hope of success in the waning days of the lame-duck session of Congress.

A previous version of the bill passed the House but failed to get a vote in the Senate earlier this month. The new bill is expected to be voted on Tuesday or Wednesday. Supporters say it is likely to pass.

The bill aims to provide medical care to the emergency workers who first responded to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Many of the workers were exposed to toxins following the towers' collapse.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Senator Schumer: We Have Votes to Pass Bill for 9/11 First Responders

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Democrat Charles Schumer told ABC News Monday morning that they have the votes to pass the 9/11 first responders bill in the lame duck session.

“We now have the votes, we’ve made some modifications that some of our Republican colleagues requested and if no one does undue delay, just stands up and delays and delays and delays, we will get this done,” the senator said.

Schumer said he has spoken to Speaker Pelosi about keeping the House in session to push through the bill that would provide healthcare to the Ground Zero workers and he pleaded to his colleague to not delay.

“Let it come to a vote and we will win.  The people who rushed to the towers after 9/11, they are our heroes just like veterans, they volunteered and risked their lives for us in a time of war,” he said.  “American tradition is we don’t turn our backs on them no matter what state you’re from and no matter what party you’re from.  And I see in these last moments the Congress coming together along those lines.”

So what took so long?

“First of all, the first several years we didn’t realize the kinds of terrible illnesses people were getting.  And then of course to figure out how to do this exactly right took a while.  The House passed it in September, we’re working on it now,” Schumer said.  “It’s not too late but it will be if we don’t do anything because thousands will die if they didn’t get adequate care.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Jon Stewart Rants About GOP Filibuster of 9/11 First Responder Bill

Photo Courtesy - Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central(WASHINGTON) -- Comedian Jon Stewart put the stalled 9/11 health bill center stage on his final show of the year, lambasting Senate Republicans for holding up passage of a bill that would provide billions of dollars in health care for sick 9/11 first responders.

"This is an outrageous abdication of our responsibility to those who were most heroic on 9/11," Stewart said. "The party that turned 9/11 into a catchphrase are now moving suspiciously into a convenient pre-9/11 mentality when it comes to this bill."

The bill, if passed, would provide $7.4 billion in health care benefits and compensation to first responders who became ill after being exposed to pollutants in the wreckage of New York's World Trade Center. The bill would create a fund for sick first responders, providing them with health insurance when their current insurance or worker's compensation payments were gone.

Earlier this year, the House passed the bill; but Senate Republicans continue to filibuster it. The last time it came up for a Senate vote -- on December 9 -- it fell two votes short of the 60 needed to advance, with senators voting strictly along party lines.

In a measure of solidarity and another jab at the White House, Senate Republicans took a pledge in September to not consider any other legislation before resolving taxes and funding.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring the bill to a vote before the end of the lame-duck session and before Republicans take over control of the House and make significant gains in the Senate.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio