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Hillary Presses White
House for WTC Health Screen $$$
1010 WINS, August 5, 2002
New York emergency and labor leaders joined Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
on Monday in calling on President Bush to approve funds to monitor the health of workers
at the World Trade Center site. The issue is shaping up as something of a political
scuffle between Bush and Clinton, D-N.Y., who authored the health tracking initiative.
Bush has until Aug. 31 to decide whether to approve a $5 billion
emergency spending package, which includes Clinton's $90 million health tracking
initiative. The Bush administration has not said whether he will do so, but it has
stressed that it is working to keep an overall lid on spending.
White House spokesman Ken Lisaius on Monday complained that Congress
crafted the spending legislation so that it's all or nothing. "It's spend a penny,
spend it all," Lisaius said. White House budget office spokeswoman Amy Call added
that the administration has placed $32 million in the pipeline to deal with health
concerns in lower Manhattan -- $20 million to create a health registry to be administered
through the Department of Health and Human Services and $12 million for a health screening
program to be run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Clinton's $90 million proposal is broader in scope and would provide
for more long-term monitoring and screening, a spokeswoman said. It would be run through
At a news conference in New York on Monday, Clinton was joined by
Uniformed Fire Officers President Peter Gorman, state AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes and
Detectives Endowment Association President Thomas J. Scotto. Clinton noted that Bush will
be in New York City to commemorate Sept. 11. "If he signs this emergency designation,
he will be able to look the ground zero firefighters, emergency response workers and
volunteers in the eye and tell them help is on the way," she said. Workers at the
site have reported respiratory problems and other health ailments.
Clinton defended the spending in the $5 billion bill the president is
considering, noting that it also contained funding for services vital to New York, like
$373 million for the Coast Guard and $100 million to update and improve radio systems for
police and firefighters.
Clinton has had some harsh words for the Bush administration lately.
"When it comes to fiscal responsibility and economic growth, this administration is
all blame and no game plan," Clinton told centrist Democrats last week at a speech in
New York City. Lisaius, the White House spokesman, said Clinton's comments would not
affect whether Bush would sign off on the bill. "The president makes his decisions
based on what's best for the American people and not comments made in the political
arena," he said.
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