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It's become difficult to keep up with the misleading and just plain lying statements this week - but the recent ad from Tommy Thompson claiming that Tammy Baldwin did not support 9/11 responders is particularly appalling - one of the general rules here is that one should not call the kettle black, particularly when your own pot is a whole lot blacker. Thompson made millions of dollars off of the 9/11 responders by providing them with not-particularly-effective health care. The blowback against this ad has been stunning from many different sources, a few of which are included below the fold.

Statement by Members of New York Congressional Delegation

Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, lead sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act


“Tammy Baldwin has an outstanding record of leadership in standing up for our 9/11 first responders and survivors, and anyone who says differently is willfully disregarding the facts.   Among her many contributions, she played a truly critical role in the passage of the landmark Zadroga Act -- which provides these heroes with essential healthcare and compensation--through her work on two key committees.

“Tommy Thompson should be ashamed. It is disgraceful for anyone to play politics with the 9/11 attack on New York but it is especially troubling coming from Thompson. As HHS Secretary for the Bush Administration, Tommy Thompson refused to make health care a priority for first responders. Then when Thompson left the Bush administration to cash in on his connections he ran a business that mismanaged health care for first responders. While Tommy Thompson made millions, our 9/11 heroes were left behind without the health care they needed and deserved." 


-- Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, lead sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act


Baldwin 1 of  Only 3 Reps To Vote for the 9/11 Health Bill Six Times. Baldwin was one of only three members of the 111th Congress to vote for H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, in both the Judiciary and Energy & Commerce Committees. Baldwin also supported the bill three times on the floor, and was a cosponsor. [H.R. 847; Subcmte on Health, 3/16/10; E&C Full Cmte, 5/25/10; Judiciary Full Cmte, 7/29/09]


Baldwin Supported Ground Zero Health Program. In 2010, Baldwin supported establishing a medical program for people exposed to harmful debris from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The program would treat and monitor individuals with medical problems resulting from the attacks or subsequent debris removal, including first-responders, construction workers and residents who lived near the Twin Towers. The measure required the program to research conditions related to exposure as well as diagnostic methods and treatment. New York Democrat Anthony Weiner chided Republicans for “talking about the pay-for and the fine print” as excuses not to vote for the bill, adding that “if you believe that we have a debt to the people that served our country, this is your moment to repay [them].” The bill failed to receive a two-thirds majority to pass, 255-159.  [CQ Today, 7/29/10; HR 847, Vote491, 7/29/10]


Baldwin Voted To Providing Health Care for 9/11 First-Responders. In September 2010,Baldwin voted for providing compensation funding for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, establishing a medical program and reopening funding for individuals exposed to harmful debris. The bill, formally titled the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, was named after a New York Police Department detective who participated in the ground zero effort and died on symptoms common to first responders. Under the measure, the Department of Health and Human Services would run a 10-year program to treat and monitor those with medical problems from the debris exposure. The program would also research conditions that may be related to the exposure, as well as diagnostic methods and treatment. Enrollment would be capped at 25,000 patients at anytime.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the health care and compensation programs would increase spending by $7.4 billion and that New York would be required to cover 10 percent of the cost. Most Republicans opposed the bill over paying for it with revenue generated from placing limits on a tax rule that allows foreign-based companies to use tax treaties to shift income outside the United States and avoid higher tax rates. Texas Rep. Joe Barton referred to the program as a “brand new entitlement program.” The bill passed, 268-160. [CQ Today, 9/29/10; HR 847, Vote550, 9/29/10]


Baldwin Supported 9/11 First Responders Health Funding. In 2010, Baldwin supported a bill to provide health care and compensation to people exposed to toxic material after Sept. 11, 2001. The compromise bill provided less money over a shorter term to compensate victims than earlier versions of the bill.  The bill provided $1.5 billion over five years to treat and monitor individuals with medical conditions from exposure to the attacks. New York City would contribute 10 percent of the cost and the Victim Compensation Fund would reopen for five years for claims. Attorneys’ fees would be capped at 10 percent of the total award. The bill imposed a two percent fee on government procurement from foreign companies located in certain countries and a one year extension of fees outsourcing companies would have to pay for certain visas.  “This should not be seen as a Democratic or Republican issue,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said before the vote. “It shouldn’t even been seen as a fiscal issue. It’s a matter of morality, of obligation.” The bill passed, 206-60. [CQ Today, 12/22/10; HR 847, Vote664, 12/22/10]


Read this release on our campaign website here.

Speaking Out Against Thompson’s False and Dishonest Ad


"Congresswoman Baldwin voted against a bill which included a lot of issues beyond support of families of the victims of September 11, 2001. That vote has nothing to do with her deep sympathy for our families. Using that vote in partisan politics is to me very objectionable.” – Tom Johnson, Racine native whose son, Scott, lost his life on 9/11


“I don’t think he’s right and he never should have brought something like that up, because it’s not true. She didn’t disagree because of that 9/11 part, she only disagreed to the other stuff that was added in later. I ended up coming home ill. I’ve had a rough time this year. Sometimes I can talk, sometimes I can’t. I’ve had pneumonia, and sinus infections and everything else. So, I’ve been sick, quite a bit.” - Judy Wolff, a Red Cross volunteer and Holmen native, who got ill after spending three weeks at Ground Zero.


"Tammy Baldwin was one of the first sponsors of our bill outside the New York area.  Her office was one of the ones helping us set up meetings when we couldn't. Tommy Thompson is the product of the Bush Administration, who wanted nothing to do with 9/11. When we went to Tommy Thompson in the Bush Administration to get health care funding, he kept fighting us. He's making money off of 9/11 and he's politicizing 9/11 for a campaign now. And to me, he's gone down a few notches on the scale of human beings." –John Feal, 9/11 advocate who lost half of one foot at Ground Zero and runs the group the FealGood Foundation.


"Governor Thompson’s latest TV ad is a disgrace. He deliberately misrepresents Tammy Baldwin’s vote, and her strong opposition to playing politics with the 9/11 tragedy. It’s sad that former Governor Thompson is stooping so low to try to attract support. He’ll find that it just won’t work." – Russ Feingold


“It’s desperate and disgusting for Tommy Thompson to play politics with the loss of human life and the 9/11 tragedy. For Tommy Thompson to attack Tammy Baldwin’s patriotism and make dishonest claims about her strong record of accomplishment supporting first responders is simply disgraceful. We stand with Tammy Baldwin against these dishonorable political tactics that have no place in Wisconsin.” –Mahlon Mitchell, President – Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin


To view Tammy Baldwin’s new ad on this issue, click here.


Read this release on our campaign website here.

Wisconsinites can also connect with the campaign on, and on Twitter @TammyBaldwinWi.

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Paid for by Tammy Baldwin for Senate