Maloney, Nadler Lead Dems in Urging House Leadership to Include World Trade Center Health Program Funding in Reconciliation Legislation

Sep 3, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), sponsors of the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act, led a group of their colleagues in urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., and House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers to include funding in reconciliation legislation to address the World Trade Center Health Program’s (WTCHP) projected funding shortfall.

 

As the Members state in their letter, “While Congress extended the WTCHP to 2090, the program’s funding needs now exceed the formula written into the law that call for inflationary adjustments each year. Subsequently, in the coming years, the WTCHP will face a funding shortfall which endangers its ability to provide care for all those still suffering the physical and mental impacts of 9/11. This includes the responders and survivors who will be newly diagnosed with 9/11-associated cancers and other aliments caused by exposures to the toxins in and around Ground Zero.

 

“The clock is ticking, and we cannot afford to abandon our responders and survivors during their time of need. As Congress considers reconciliation legislation, we urge you to include provisions to address the anticipated funding shortfall for the WTCHP.”

 

Joining Representatives Maloney and Nadler on this request are Representatives Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (D-NY), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Joseph D. Morelle (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

 

Full text of the letter below and a PDF can be found here.

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Chairman Pallone, and Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers:

 

Everyone remembers that the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, killed 2,997 people and injured thousands in New York City, Shanksville, PA and at the Pentagon. But in the years since that day, tens of thousands more, including responders, relief workers, and residents, have lost their lives or gotten sick after they were exposed to a toxic cocktail of burning chemicals, pulverized drywall, and powdered cement.

 

After the attack, thousands of responders rushed to the scenes and spent months combing through the wreckage looking for remains. In New York, residents, students, and employees were urged by the government to return to their homes, go back to school, and reopen businesses and the Financial District. The federal government assured them that the air they were breathing was safe, when in fact it was filled with toxic pollutants that continue to kill and disable 9/11 responders and survivors to this day.

 

In 2010, Congress finally responded to this health crisis with bipartisan action by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which created the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

 

In subsequent years, Congress, with bipartisan support in 2015 and 2019, moved to expand both programs’ funding and extend their authorizations to ensure that those injured and made ill by the toxins – and their families – would get the help they need and deserve.

 

Today, the WTCHP provides medical treatment and monitoring for more than 110,000 responders and survivors from the World Trade Center and lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville crash site. These individuals live in every State and in 434 out of 435 Congressional Districts.

 

While Congress extended the WTCHP to 2090, the program’s funding needs now exceed the formula written into the law that call for inflationary adjustments each year. Subsequently, in the coming years, the WTCHP will face a funding shortfall which endangers its ability to provide care for all those still suffering the physical and mental impacts of 9/11. This includes the responders and survivors who will be newly diagnosed with 9/11-associated cancers and other aliments caused by exposures to the toxins in and around Ground Zero.

 

The clock is ticking, and we cannot afford to abandon our responders and survivors during their time of need. As Congress considers reconciliation legislation, we urge you to include provisions to address the anticipated funding shortfall for the WTCHP.

 

The requested allocation would ensure adequate funding now and in the future. This funding and program authorization has already received support from 54 bipartisan Members of the House and 5 Senators, including the entire New York delegation, who are co-sponsors of the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act.

 

As the nation observes the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this funding is needed to ensure that the slogan that we will “Never Forget 9/11” is not an empty promise. We must act now to ensure that all 9/11 responders and survivors will continue to get the care that they need and deserve.

 

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