President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that funds medical care for firefighters and other responders to the September 11 attacks in 2001. The five-year, $4.3 billion measure will provide medical treatment for emergency responders sickened by toxic dust inhaled at the World Trade Center site in New York in the days following the attacks. It also includes a health program for responders sickened by the toxic debris and establishes a victims’ compensation fund.
Victims have five years to file claims. Thousands of firefighters, police and other rescue and cleanup workers contracted respiratory problems and other illnesses from working at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the attacks. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York welcomed the move. “Our nation — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — all came together to do what was right and provide healthcare to the brave men and women who served with such heroism in the days and weeks following 9/11,” she said in a statement.