9/11 health honcho Dr. John Howard back on job, thanks to President ObamaBY Michael Mcauliff
NY Daily News
September 4, 2009
WASHINGTON - The former 9/11 health czar who was fired by the Bush administration is getting his job back from President Obama.
Dr. John Howard was widely respected in the 9/11 community for being among the first to recognize the illnesses stemming from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
They complained he lost his job for creating political discomfort for the Bush administration, which failed to reappoint him last July as head of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Howard's reinstatement comes as 9/11 victim advocates have stepped up complaints that the White House has not done enough to get a law to help responders who fell ill after working on rescue and cleanup at the twin towers.
There was never any explanation provided for Howard's dismissal, and professional organizations protested.
But now Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is putting him back in the position.
Her decision pleased New Yorkers in Congress who have been advocates for the responders' cause.
"The reappointment of Dr. Howard is an important step toward giving 9/11 responders and others the health care and compensation they deserve," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan.)
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) said "The reappointment of Dr. Howard sends a very strong signal that this administration is serious about 9/11 health care."
And a Republican, Rep. Pete King of Nassau County, hailed Howard as "an outstanding public servant who has always put the victims first."