Rep. Scott Garrett to 9/11 Heroes: You're On Your Own


(Trenton) -- As the sun set in Washington last night, so too did the provisions of The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a bill that provides medical treatment and health benefits for 9/11 first responders and survivors -- a shameful reminder of Congressman Scott Garrett’s callous record of voting against those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and his inattention to the needs of his district.

The health benefits, which assist nearly 70,000 Americans affected by 9/11, will expire next year if Congress does not renew the program. Given that the Republican Congress has done little more than obstruct and obfuscate, the prospects for renewal are bleak.
 
But even were Congress functioning properly, Garrett has a long track record of denying assistance to first responders and survivors of 9/11. In 2010, Garrett was the only member of the New Jersey congressional delegation to vote against the 9/11 First Responders Bill, which provided health care treatment for 9/11 first responders, including certain emergency, recovery and cleanup personnel. Garrett also opposed granting collective bargaining rights to first responders nationwide.
 
Congressman Garrett is neglecting the heroes of 9/11 — the police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel and first responders, among all the others who gave so much on that fateful day. And the fact that he opposed providing them with health benefits in the first place proves he’s too extreme for New Jersey,” said John Currie, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. “Time and time again, Congressman Garrett has shown that his radical Republican ideology matters more to him than his own constituents. He’s telling those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, ‘You’re on your own.’ And that’s just wrong.
 
Background
 
Garrett And House Republicans Failed To Extend Benefits To 70,000 Victims And First Responders Of The 9/11 Attacks. “The Zadroga Act that helps victims and first responders of the 9/11 attacks with related health problems expired at midnight Wednesday. Congress did not approve an extension or make the law permanent. The federal health benefits affect around 70,000 people. The original act only covered five years of care, but was later extended.” [WABC, 10/1/15]
 
Garrett Was The Only Member Of NJ Delegation To Vote Against 9/11 First Responders Bill. “The House will vote again next week on a health care and compensation package for rescue workers and volunteers sickened by inhaling toxic chemicals and fibers after the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11, sponsors said Wednesday. Police, firefighters and others pushing for the bill at a Capitol rally were hopeful it would pass, after coming up short in a vote in July. But they also were bitter that it had taken this long…Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, was the only member of the New Jersey delegation to oppose the bill in July.” [Herald News, 9/16/10]
 
September 2010: Garrett Voted Against Providing Health Care For 9/11 First Responders. “The bill establishes the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program within the Department of Health and Human Services. It is charged with providing medical monitoring and treatment for responders (certain emergency, recovery and cleanup workers) who were at the World Trade Center site in New York during and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The WTC Health Program also provides such services to survivors (residents, building occupants and area workers) who were in the vicinity of the attacks. Responders and survivors receive services and benefits through separate programs, each not to exceed 25,000 participants. The law limits the program to about $1.5 billion over a period of five years. The bill passed, 268-160. [CQ Bill Analysis 1/5/11; HR 847, Vote #550, 9/29/10]
 
July 2010: Garrett Voted Against Providing Health Care For 9/11 First Responders. The bill establishes the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program within the Department of Health and Human Services. It is charged with providing medical monitoring and treatment for responders (certain emergency, recovery and cleanup workers) who were at the World Trade Center site in New York during and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The WTC Health Program also provides such services to survivors (residents, building occupants and area workers) who were in the vicinity of the attacks. Responders and survivors receive services and benefits through separate programs, each not to exceed 25,000 participants. The law limits the program to about $1.5 billion over a period of five years. The bill passed, 268-160. The bill failed to receive a two-thirds majority to pass, 255-159. [CQ Bill Analysis 1/5/11; HR 847, Vote #491, 7/29/10]

Only Member of NJ Delegation To Vote Against Giving Union Rights To First Responders. “Voting 314 for and 97 against, the House on July 17 sent the Senate a bill (HR 980) granting limited union rights to police, firefighters, corrections officers and other public-safety personnel in all states. At least 20 states now deny collective- bargaining rights to public employees. The bill empowers state and local first responders to bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions but prohibits strikes by unions and lockouts by employers.” Garrett was the only member of the New Jersey delegation to vote against the bill. [Star-Ledger, 7/22/07]

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