Maloney, Nadler, Donovan and 9/11 First Responders ring NYSE Closing Bell to Celebrate passage of the Zadroga Act

Feb 22, 2016
Press Release

NEW YORKReps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Dan Donovan (R-NY) today joined by 9/11 survivors and responders  to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in honor of the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. Congresswoman Maloney, who introduced the legislation with Reps Nadler, Peter King (R-NY) and Donovan succeeded in attaching the legislation to an omnibus spending bill that was signed into law by President Obama in December.  Several organizations that worked to pass the legislation, including Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, the Feal Good Foundation, the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, and District Council 37, joined more than a dozen responders, survivors and doctors for the event.

 

“Today more than 70,000 of responders and survivors rely on the World Trade Center Health Program for medical monitoring and treatment for 9/11 related illnesses,” said Maloney. “The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is also there to help these men and women become financially whole again. So many were cut down in the prime of their lives and lost out on years of income as a result of their illnesses. These programs were established in 2010 when the Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.  The bill was authorized for a period of 5 years. It was set to expire, but then, last year, brave men and women locked arms and took to the halls of Congress to make their case. They demanded not just to be heard, but for Congress to act, and they won. Today we celebrate that victory.”

 

Maloney submitted a statement for the Congressional Record about efforts to pass the legislation. The text follows:

 

IN RECOGNITION OF THOSE WHO FOUGHT TO REAUTHORIZE THE JAMES ZADROGA 9/11 HEALTH AND COMPENSATION ACT

 

HON. CAROLYN B. MALONEY

OF NEW YORK

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Mr. Speaker, on February 22, 2016 I joined with Representatives Jerry Nadler (NY-10) and Daniel Donovan (NY-11) to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange to recognize and thank the many September 11th responders and survivors who devoted countless hours to ensuring that this Congress would never forget its obligation to those who were there and those who rushed in to Ground Zero after the worst terrorist attack in American history.

 

Today more than 70,000 men and women rely on the World Trade Center Health Program for medical monitoring and treatment for 9/11 related illnesses. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is also there to help these men and women become financially whole again. So many were cut down in the prime of their lives and lost out on years of income as a result of their illnesses.

 

These programs were established in 2010 when the Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

 

The bill was authorized for 5 years. It was set to expire, but then, last year, brave men and women locked arms and took to the halls of Congress to make their case. They demanded not just to be heard, but for Congress to act.

 

Many struggled to walk or relied on wheelchairs to make it from office to office. Others gasped for air as they went door to door talking to anyone who would listen. They should never have had to shoulder this burden, but they did it because they knew for every responder or survivor who could make it to their nation’s capital, there were thousands who could not, and they needed a voice.

 

At times Members of this body questioned their tactics. They didn’t like being confronted with the truth about what happened after 9/11. They didn’t like hearing how first responders were told the air was safe to breathe, when the evidence showed that it wasn’t. They didn’t like to hear how much money it would cost to care for the injured, ill and dying. They didn’t want to know about the cancers, respiratory diseases, and other chronic illnesses that resulted from exposure to the toxic environment that existed after the attacks. But it was a story that needed to be told, and thankfully it did not fall on deaf ears.

 

At the close of 2015, Congress granted a 75 year extension of the World Trade Center Health Program and full funding for the Victim Compensation Fund. All told, $8.1 billion was provided for these programs in the omnibus spending bill.

 

It was a major victory and it could not have been achieved without the hard work of the responders and survivors, their doctors and medical teams, and the many organizations who fought for this cause, including those who were able to attend the NYSE closing bell ceremony: Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, The Feal Good Foundation, the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, and DC37.

 

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating the champions of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act for helping this body realize that “never forget” is more than just a bumper sticker. It is not just a phrase that should force us to recall the great tragedy of September 11th. It is also a clarion call to remember that there are still those who still carry the wounds of that attack and they deserve the support of a grateful nation.