Yesterday, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act into law, ensuring that first responders to the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center would receive $1.5 billion in health benefits and $2.7 billion in compensation. Obama, who signed the bill from his vacation home in Hawaii, said in a statement that it was an honor to sign the bill, "We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks."
The bill was approved by the Senate on December 22, and a sign-able version was flown from D.C. to Hawaii. While New York lawmakers are pleased with the bill's passage, one first responder, John Feal (who is also a vocal advocate for them), told the Daily News, "I don't get [the low-key signing ceremony]. But it is what it is. We're just glad he got this done." And Joseph Zadroga, whose NYPD detective son James died from Ground Zero-related issues, said he was pleased about the act, "It was a bittersweet battle and this is a bittersweet victory... It's been a long road."