The U.S. House of Representatives decisively rejected Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s proposal that would have seriously harmed the World Trade Center Health Program and the medical monitoring and treatment that it provides to over 86,000 9/11 responders and survivors who are in every State and in 433 out of 435 Congressional Districts across the country.
In the President’s proposed budget for the 2019 Federal Fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2019, Budget Director Mulvaney proposed what we at the Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act considered an existential threat to the carefully established and designed management and administration of the World Trade Center Health Program and could have resulted in adverse impact to the health and wellbeing of thousands of injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors.
He proposed to move the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to the National Institute of Health while ripping the WTC Health Program and leaving it as free-standing entity within the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This would have removed the management staff of NIOSH from the WTC Health Program, resulting in the loss of their expertise and experience that had been serving the 9/11 community.
This would have disrupted the critical management of the World Trade Center Health Program that has been running the Health Program that is providing medical treatment and monitoring to injured and ill 9/11 responders from the World Trade Center and lower Manhattan, the Pentagon and the Shanksville Crash site and medical treatment for survivors who were exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero. Medical treatment that it took years to get Congress to agree to provide.
The House of Representatives Appropriations committee unambiguously rejected the Mulvaney proposal when it came out with its Labor and Health and Human Services Budget bill for the 2019 Federal fiscal year and did not make the proposed changes that Mulvaney had urged. In fact in its official Report the committee specifically stated that:
“The Committee does not move NIOSH into NIH, as proposed in the budget request. The Committee believes NIOSH’s mission does not align with NIH’s focus on biomedical research and is better achieved within CDC.”
This was a victory because of the efforts of our Congressional allies, Representatives Peter King, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, who lead this bi partisan fight in Congress that successfully convinced their colleagues what a bad idea the Mulvaney proposal was. They successfully protected the World Trade Center Health Program and its mission of providing health care to those injured by the toxins at Ground Zero.
And it was a victory due to all the all the 9/11 responders, survivors and friends who made clear to OMB Director Mulvaney and to Congress with their calls, emails and letters how this proposed change would needlessly threaten the health of injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors and was just a really bad idea.
Thru the efforts Jon Stewart, who helped to call attention to this threat, along with 9/11 responder Advocate John Feal, union leaders like Jake Lemonda of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Local 854 IAFF, and Gerard Fitzgerald of the Uniformed Firefighters Association Local 94 IAFF, and many others we were able to convince Congress to reject the Mulvaney Proposal.