Tuesday, September 11, 2007
A day before the September 11th memorial ceremonies, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Governor Eliot Spitzer walked among cranes and jackhammers as they toured the World Trade Center site Monday.
Pelosi also took the opportunity to announce her support for reopening the federal Victim's Compensation Fund to ensure treatment is provided to ground zero workers who have fallen ill as the result of breathing in toxic dust from the fallen towers.
"They acted in good faith. They acted in good conscience. I don't think we have met that challenge," she said.
Reopening the fund is expected to be difficult, but Pelosi's support is critical. She said she's now looking at proposals aimed at providing treatment to those who rushed to help others on 9/11, but admitted she doesn't want to over-promise, in part, perhaps because the proposals are expensive.
"I don't want to over promise, but what I do want to say is that we have been lacking in meeting their needs. We want to document what they are and present a sustainable, positive proposal for how we go forward,” she said. “So what I would say to them is, ‘Thank you, we owe you more than you have received. You have challenged our conscience we are prepared to meet that challenge.’"
Mayor Michael Bloomberg puts the price tag of treating workers who are currently sick and who may become ill at $393 million a year.
“We have to make sure that, God forbid, if there's another emergency people are willing to show up to rescue and recover others,” said Bloomberg.
Later Monday, Pelosi and Spitzer took a look at plans for rebuilding the site and both said it's good to see the area so busy.
"That day was marked by silence, almost total silence. And today, in contrast, we hear the vitality of progress, the vitality of rebuilding,” said Pelosi. “And part of that success really goes to the families of 9/11, who again turned their grief into action.”
“It's not often the case at a press event that you are happy to have background noise of this sort. Usually people grimace and say it's going to be hard to hear us,” said Spitzer. “There's nothing better than hearing the jackhammers and the clang of steel because I don't think anything is more real."
Pelosi will mark the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attacks back in Washington Tuesday.