Majority of House Members back permanent Zadroga 911 Health and Compensation Act extension
WASHINGTON – A majority of the House has cosponsored The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1786), introduced by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY). The measure to permanently extend the World Trade Center Health Program and Victim Compensation Fund, which are set to shut down completely next year, now has 223 cosponsors, including 50 Republicans.
“A bipartisan majority of the House supports making the care and compensation for 9/11 responders and survivors permanent,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Now it’s time for Congress to vote so that these men and women never again have to worry if the health care they need and the compensation they were promised will be there. We’re going to continue building support behind the bill to demonstrate our iron-clad commitment to getting this done. The hard work of 9/11 responders and survivors who have made countless trips to Washington, taken hundreds of meetings with Members of Congress, and worked to build support behind the bill is paying off.”
“It is great to see so many Members of Congress getting behind the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Today, tens of thousands of first responders and survivors must live with the permanent consequences of the September 11th attacks. It is time for Congress to take action. We have the votes to get this done and I call on the House Leadership to bring to the floor a permanent reauthorization, ensuring that these men and women continue to have access to the health coverage and compensation they so desperately need and deserve.”
The World Trade Center Health Program authorization expired at the end of September, and funding will run out by September 30, 2016. In the meantime, the program is in the process of shutting down, creating anxiety for those in treatment, and problems for program administration, medical staff retention and continuity of care. The Victim Compensation, also authorized for five years by the 2010 Zadroga Act, will shut down by October 3, 2016 and will not be able to fully compensate 9/11 responders and survivors unless Congress extends the program and fully funds it.
Nearly 14 years after September 11th, first responders and survivors are battling serious health conditions resulting from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero. More than 33,000 9/11 responders, as well as survivors of the attacks, including area residents, workers and children, have at least one illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds of those have more than one illness. So far, 4,166 9/11 responders and survivors have been found to have 9/11 related cancers according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. Many first responders are disabled and can no longer work, and suffer from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer and many more, caused by exposure to toxins and carcinogens at Ground Zero.
Responders came from all over the country to aid in the response to the attacks. And some responders and survivors, including area residents, workers and children harmed by the disaster, have since moved and are currently receiving care in cities and states across the country. Participants enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program for treatment currently reside in all 50 states and in 433 of the 435 Congressional Districts in the country.
On January 2, 2011, President Obama Signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847) into law. Maloney, Nadler, King and many others spent nearly a decade fighting to pass this important law, which has provided medical monitoring, treatment, and compensation to those sick and injured from the September 11th attacks.
The Zadroga Act’s two critical programs providing medical treatment and compensation for 9/11 heroes – the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – are set to shut down and stop providing medical care and compensation this Congress.
Maloney, Nadler & King have introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which is cosponsored by 201 House members. The bill would:
- Continue the World Trade Center Health Program
- Continue to Provide Monitoring and Treatment for Communities Throughout the Nation
- Continue the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
- Make the programs permanent
- Continue New York City’s Cost Share
- Continue to Research New Conditions