Mayor de Blasio, Bipartisan Coalition of Mayors and Local Leaders Urge Speaker Ryan to Pass Permanent, Fully Funded Zadroga Act

Nov 9, 2015
In The News

NEW YORK—Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined a coalition of 27 bipartisan mayors and local leaders (including all regional county executives) to send a letter to new U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, urging him to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

On September 30th, 2015, the World Trade Center Health Program – which provides over 72,000 responders and survivors treatment or medical monitoring across the country – was allowed to expire. Next year, in 2016, the Victims Compensation Fund – which provides compensation for injured or ill 9/11 responders and survivors – will expire if action is not taken.

The bipartisan coalition includes big city mayors from around the country such as Mayor de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, as well as local leaders such as Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Putnam County Executive Executive MaryEllen Odell, and a number of local town supervisors.

A full list of signatories can be found at bottom.

November 9th, 2015

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan:

We write to urge that you make it a top priority of your new role as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives to permanently reauthorize and fully fund H.R. 1786/S. 928, The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act (Zadroga Act), as expeditiously as possible. This is an issue of national significance that strikes at the heart of our national psyche and has a direct and immediate impact on thousands of our residents. 

There is no greater example of selfless, patriotic, and heroic actions than the response to the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Following these attacks, thousands of first responders, construction workers and volunteers who live in our cities and towns selflessly acted to comb through dust, debris and rubble to look for survivors and eventually restore normalcy. They were exposed to deadly toxins and carcinogens at Ground Zero while the Federal Government said that the air was safe. We cannot fail to support these heroes living in our cities, and who live in every state across our great nation.  

The House Zadroga Act was introduced by Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King, while the Senate counterpart was introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Robert Menendez, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Warren, Jeanne Shaheen, and Jeff Merkley. To date, there is broad bipartisan support for these bills; 247 Members of the United States House of Representatives and 63 members of the United States Senate support them.

The legislation will permanently extend and fully fund two significant programs: the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The WTC Health program provides over 72,000 responders and survivors treatment or medical monitoring across the country. The VCF provides compensation for injured or ill 9/11 responders and survivors from the aftermath of the attacks, and has made over 6,285 determinations for injured and ill responders and survivors or their families.

The current WTC Health program expired on September 30th, 2015 and the VCF will expire in 2016. This has put at risk the continued treatment of current and future patients. More than 33,000 9/11 first responders and survivors have developed at least one illness, and doctors are expecting future patients whose symptoms may have not yet manifested. If the law is not renewed and fully funded, patients will be deprived of treatment, while families already awarded compensation could see their payments cut by half.

Our first responders were there for us on 9/11 – we must be there for them now. We owe it to these men and women living in all of our communities to ensure they are cared for as they face the health effects of helping this country during and after one of the worst attacks on U.S. soil. As such, we ask you to permanently reauthorize these critical health care and compensation programs.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

Mayor Bill de Blasio – New York City (D)
Mayor Eric Garcetti – Los Angeles (D)
Mayor Michael Nutter – Philadelphia (D)
Mayor Tomas Regalado – Miami (R)
Mayor Annise Parker - Houston (D)
Mayor Martin Walsh – Boston (D)
Mayor Greg Stanton – Phoenix (D)
Mayor Steve Adler – Austin (D)
Mayor Betsy Hodges – Minneapolis (D)
Mayor Javier Gonzales – Santa Fe (D)
Mayor Paul Soglin – Madison (D)
Mayor Dawn Zimmer – Hoboken (D)
Mayor Bob Buckhorn – Tampa (D)
Mayor Jorge Elorza – Providence (D)
Mayor J. Christian Bollwage – Elizabeth (D)
Mayor John Giles – Mesa (R)
County Executive Rob Astorino – Westchester (R)
County Executive Edward Mangano – Nassau (R)
County Executive Ed Day – Rockland (R)
County Executive Steve Bellone – Suffolk (D)
County Executive Marcus Molinaro – Dutchess (R)
County Executive Steve Neuhaus – Orange (R)
County Executive MaryEllen Odell – Putnam (R)
Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer – Babylon (D)
Town Supervisor Frank P. Petrone - Huntington (D)
Supervisor-Elect Anthony J. Santino – Hempstead (R)
Supervisor-Elect Jay Schneiderman – Southampton (I)

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