Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which passed the House by a vote of 206 to 160. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
“Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I rise to briefly congratulate and thank the Members of the New York delegation and others who helped bring this legislation to the floor in a strong bipartisan way. Congresswoman Maloney, Congressman Nadler, Congressman King, thank you. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to say thank you in a real way to our first responders, to our firefighters, to those who rushed in without question to rescue their fellow Americans and people from all over the country, as a matter of fact.
“There is an exhilaration, Madam Speaker, that you see in the chamber. And that is why they keep telling us to take our conversation outside the room, because right now, we know that any discussion we have ever had about 9/11 has been a discussion where we have entered holy and sacred ground, where people lost their lives. Fewer did because others were willing to risk theirs.
“For over nine years, we have been trying to redress the grievance of people not having the health benefits and the recognition of their service, their sacrifice and their courage. Today, I thank Mr. King, Congresswoman Maloney, Congressman Nadler, Chairman King to be, and the leadership of this House and of the United States Senate, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer, as well as Senator Reid, and the Republican leadership in the Senate for affording us this opportunity. This opportunity will extend our patriotic appreciation to those whose love of our country, whose care and commitment to their fellow person, who unquestionably made sacrifices and now more than nine years later we finally are doing the right thing for them.
“Every day, our firefighters, our police officers, our first responders leave their homes willing to risk their lives. Little did they know, on that day many of them would not return home. How can we ever repay their sacrifice and their courage?
“So today, we do so--certainly not as enough, but as a token of our appreciation for what they have done to strengthen our country.
“With that, Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. Again, thanking all of those who made this important legislation possible. Thank you.”