President Barack Obama has taken a break from his Hawaiian vacation Sunday to sign into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Healthcare and Compensation Act. Congress passed the bill just before going on recess, 10 days ago.
The Zadroga Act provides aid to first responders and construction workers exposed to World Trade Center dust -- and to some residents, students and others in the area near Ground Zero.
$2.5 billion provided by the bill will go to a Victims Compensation Fund that is expected to be up-and-running within six months. Like the original Fund that operated in the first three years after the attacks, this one also will be supervised by a Special Master -- who has yet to be appointed.
The Zadroga Act also more than quadruples the funding for health clinics and other programs that screen and treat people for 9/11-related illness. Last year, these programs received $70 million. They will get $300 million for each of the next five years.