Two years after attacks, which killed five and hit a further 22, lawmakers on Thursday introduced in Congress a bill to compensate those infected, many of whom continue to suffer debilitating health problems from their exposure to the potentially lethal bacteria.
The Anthrax Victims Compensation Act of 2003, if passed, will allow victims of the attacks to draw on the fund of monies to compensate victims of the 11 September, 2001 attacks.
“They need this help to pay for medical expenses and to provide for themselves and their families if they have been unable to return to work,” Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a sponsor of the bill, said on the floor of the Senate, according to AFP.
“This legislation is very narrow and specific,” the bill’s co-sponsor, Democratic Minority Leader Tom Daschle, said. Daschle was one of the intended targets when anthrax-laced letters were sent to their Senate offices, shutting down vast sections of the Capitol office complex for weeks.
“Only persons who were exposed to anthrax during the anthrax attacks of 2001, and who have been diagnosed with a ‘laboratory-confirmed anthrax infection’ may receive compensation from the fund,” Daschle explained.
The perpetrators of the anthrax attacks remain at large.