Political Shorts January 2, 2011: President Obama Signs the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in Hawaii

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 111TH & 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

  • Obama signs health bill for 9/11 responders: US President Barack Obama signed into law Sunday a bill to compensate emergency responders sickened in the rubble of the September 11 attacks, the White House said in a statement. The president is currently in Hawaii, where he spent the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and was expected back in Washington on Tuesday. He had been due to sign the bill at the Kaneohe Marine base near his vacation home.
    The US Congress on December 22 approved a 10-year, four-billion-dollar program to help police, firefighters and other workers made ill by the fumes left in the wake of the worst terrorist attack on US soil. The Senate and then the House of Representatives passed the measure after a last-minute compromise ended a Republican blockade in one of the final acts of the Democrat-led US Congress…. – AFP, 1-2-11
  • Obama Signs Bill to Help 9/11 Workers: President Obama took time out of his Hawaiian vacation on Sunday to sign into law one of the surprise accomplishments of the lame-duck Congress: a measure covering the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others sickened by toxic fumes and dust after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
    To become law, the bill required Mr. Obama’s signature before he returned to Washington on Tuesday, so he signed it at his rented vacation home in the town of Kailua, near Honolulu. There was no signing ceremony, as there would probably have been had the president been at the White House. Instead, Mr. Obama’s official photographer recorded the moment, and the White House said it would release a picture.
    The $4.3 billion bill became a major point of contention in the waning days of the Congressional session. Republican senators blocked a more expensive House version, and as it appeared that the measure was going to die, the comedian Jon Stewart took up the cause, using his Comedy Central television program to advocate passage. Ultimately, the Senate approved the less expensive measure; the House quickly followed suit and sent the bill to the president…. – NYT, 1-2-11
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