Clinton's $2 Billion Proposal for WTC Illness Treatment Blocked By Senate

Senate leaders eradicated a $2 billion proposal devised by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., that would have set aside medical and mental health monitoring and treatment grants available for emergency responders, volunteers and residents affected by the World Trade Center debris in Lower Manhattan.

The Senate invoked parliamentary rules, saying Clinton's amendment to a measure funding port security was not "germane."

In response to the Senate's refusal to allow the amendment, Clinton said she was "deeply disappointed that the Republican leadership of the Senate has used parliamentary tactics to block a vote on [the] amendment to the Port Security legislation" and urged the Senate to "act swiftly to enact this or other legislation designed to monitor and treat individuals and to prevent more casualties from these attacks."

Report Demonstrates Need for Funding

Clinton drew up the plan on the heels of a report from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, that said 70 percent of 9/11 first responders have developed lung problems. She emphasized that this report confirms the need to expand access to health monitoring and treatment to those whose health had been affected by 9/11.

Clinton said the funding would have been available from 2007-2011 and estimated that each individual would was have received $5,800 per year for treatment.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has questioned the link between Ground Zero air and the illnesses, said he supported Clinton's amendment.

"This was a national attack on the country, and I think the federal government has a responsibility," he said. "We cannot handle this ourselves. We just don't have enough money."

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