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First Responders Blast Congress Over 9/11 Health Bill Defeat

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TWC News: First Responders Blast Congress Over 9/11 Health Bill Defeat
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Several September 11th organizations rallied in Lower Manhattan Sunday to urge Congress to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

About two dozen first responders, their families and others gathered at the World Trade Center site where they called on lawmakers to stop arguing over the legislation and just approve it.

The bill would provide funds to first responders and residents who were sickened by the toxic dust from the debris.

The $7.4 billion measure was defeated in the House last week when Democrats decided to require a two-thirds majority for passage, fearing Republicans would attach amendments to the bill.

"Somebody from Congress needs to step up and apologize. They better step up and apologize for their actions down there. Because its shameful to say the least," said Kenny Specht of the Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation.

"Republicans and Democrats should have voted like Americans! They say this is a New York issue. This is a national issue," said September 11th health care advocate John Feal.

One key sticking point is whether the health care bill would cover illegal immigrants who worked the pile or were sickened Downtown.

First responders say political gimmicks from both sides should not be tolerated.

"We have Congress playing with our lives while we sit on death row," said retired Department of Transportation worker Ken George.

"When I was down here digging, Congress was down here. The politicians were down here, and they put their arms around me. They were really here. I was was proud to be an American. Now I'm saddened by what's going on. That they are using politics. This is a bunt. This is easy. This is an easy bill to pass," said New York City Firefighter Ray Pfeifer.

The group says they plan on staging a larger rally in the coming months in Washington, D.C.

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