WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 11: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (2n L) speaks as Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R) listen during a news briefing after the weekly Senate Republican Policy Luncheon December 11, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. McConnell discussed various topics with the media including the fiscal cliff issue saying “time is running out.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) – Texas Senator John Cornyn on Monday responded to a question about what message Congress is sending to the September 11, 2001 First Responders by allowing their medical benefits to expire.
“It’s been fourteen years ago since 911. My hope is we would have a way for people with health care issues to be dealt with under the current programs.” said Senator Cornyn.
On October 1, Congress allowed the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act to expire. This leaves 33,000 first responders without the medical care and financial support for injuries and illnesses caused as a result of their work at Ground Zero.
The two Texas Senators, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison both voted against the legislation back in 2010.
The law set aside more than $4 billion to pay for health costs related to diseases caused by the cleanup of the site and to compensate for job and economic loss.
Cornyn, the current Senate Majority Whip, says America can’t afford to pay the ongoing medical bill. “There’s obviously a question of cost. And that’s been a concern when we’re $19-trillion dollars in debt; and when we continue to run huge deficits on an annual basis. And we can’t be blind to those costs either.”
Going forward Cornyn did leave the door open for at least some of the first responders in need.
“I’d be happy to learn more about the individual cases” said Cornyn. “I think it’s probably hard to generalize, but if specific cases need to be dealt with then I’m all for us doing everything we can to help people who can tie that to their exposure on 9-11.”