Peter King is My Hero

I am glad to see that The New York Times Magazine article, “Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook,” written by Jonathan Van Meter and published on April 10, 2013, has attempted to correct the scandalous falsehood the magazine had originally published: that Congressman Peter King, had tried to kill the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

This is what they had originally published, which I fear will end up being in the print version this Sunday:

“…when he went berserk on the floor of the House because a Republican colleague, Peter King, was trying to scuttle the 9/11 health and compensation act.”

Having walked the halls of Congress for eight years with responders, survivors, organized labor and Mayor Bloomberg, I can say that nothing could be further from the truth.

Only Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Nadler worked as hard as Peter King did in trying to get this bill passed. But unlike that of Maloney and Nadler, Congressman King’s work on the bill was, in a way, much tougher, because he had to buck his party leadership. Maloney and Nadler had the support of Nancy Pelosi, then the Speaker of the House. Congressman King’s Republican Party leadership–which all too often loves to wrap themselves with the flag and say that we must never forget 9/11 whenever it is convenient for them—for years fought us tooth and nail to try to stop the bill and deny help to those still suffering and dying from 9/11.

I am not going to go into the machinations of the House of Representatives that day, when the bill was brought up for its first floor vote, but I can say that Pete King was doing everything he could to pass the bill; and it was with his efforts in leading some Republicans to support the bill that resulted in our eventual success.

The truth is there were very few Republican House members like Pete King who worked to help us with the legislation and who told their leadership to take a hike. Members like former Representatives Chris Shays of Connecticut, Vito Fossella of New York, Dan Lundgren of California, Congressmen Chris Smith of New Jersey, and Frank Wolff of Virginia did not listen to their leadership, but rather did the right thing and helped 9/11 responders and survivors.

Pete King has repeatedly proved he will be fearless in doing the right thing, as he recently showed us all when he helped shame his own leadership into bringing to the floor the Sandy relief bill they had stalled for months.

That is why the Fealgood Foundation had already planned to honor Congressman King this September at our annual event and that is why I wrote this today to set the record straight.

God bless,
John Feal
9/11 Responder & Advocate