Local politicians gathered in Washington today to introduce the James Zagroda 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, legislation that would provide $12 million for the medical expenses of Ground Zero workers. Zagroda was an NYPD detective and 9/11 first responder who died of lung disease in 2006 at 34. Mayor Bloomberg joined both pairs of senators from NY and NJ and Zagroda's father Joseph in announcing the bill that will attempt to circumvent a missed a 2003 deadline missed by workers looking to receive assistance in illnesses stemming from being exposed to toxic dust and debris at the site of the 9/11 attacks.

Senator Gillibrand told reporters, "We have an undeniable, morale obligation to provide them with health and treatment they deserve." Joining her today were two potential rivals in 2010 Senate election who have been at the forefront of Congress when it comes to 9/11 aide, Representatives Peter King and Carolyn Maloney. King said, "All of us must put our political interests aside. The health of our 9/11 first responders and workers is too important."

Last year a bill attempting to have Congress set aside federal funding for first responders was shot down when representatives were unhappy with NYC's unwillingness to contribute to the fund and some asserting that the illnesses that stem from complications at Ground Zero were not the same as an attack on America by a bomb or weapons. According to the AP, "Under the senators' plan, the cost to New York would not exceed $250 million over a decade, which is half of what it would have paid over that period under legislation that was rejected last year."

Bloomberg expressed almost identical sentiments to the ones offered in last year's debate, saying, "This is an attack against the entire country. I think it's a national problem."