Remember 9/11 should be more than a bumper sticker
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Legislation

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act

By 2016, Congress must reauthorize and extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 or those sickened by Ground Zero toxins will stop getting the health care and compensation they need and deserve.

On April 14th 2015, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1786 and in the United States Senate, S. 928 , and the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015”, which will renew and make permanent the Health and Compensation programs that are helping thousands of injured and ill 9/11 Responders and Survivors, was introduced in both houses of Congress by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) along with 49 other original bi-partisan cosponsors in the House, and in the Senate by Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), Senators Warren (D-MA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Sanders (D-VT), Menedez (D-NJ), Murphy (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Baldwin (D-WI), Shaheen (D-NH), and Casey (D-PA), cosponsors in the Senate.

“Remembering 9/11” and making sure that injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors have the medical treatment and help for their injuries and illness should be something that even dysfunctional Washington should be able to agree on. But in the past there were many in Congress who would say they “Remember 9/11,” but who would not support getting help to the heroes and survivors.

If Congress does not act and does not reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act then injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors who are currently receiving specialized treatment from the World Trade Center Health Program for their 9/11 injuries and illnesses will no longer receive their health care. That means the over 33,000 responders and survivors who have at least one injury or illness caused by the attacks, and two thirds of those have multiple injuries, including chronic diseases like asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, and gastro esophageal reflux disease and cancers, among others will stop receiving treatment. Over 80 New York Police Department officers and over 100 Firefighters have reportedly died of their 9/11 injuries since 9/11 and more are expected in the coming years.

Here are some of the statistics that describe the size and scope of the health crisis facing ill 9/11 responders and survivors.

The new legislation will make the two programs the World Trade Center Health Program and the reopened Spetber11th Victim Compensation Fund permanent programs, the same way that Congress provided health care and compensation for nuclear workers and coal miners. This prevent 9/11 responders and survivors who are sick and disabled will not have to come begging to Congress to continue the care they need. The World Trade Center Health Program has identified more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins, that are impacting more and more Responders and Survivors every week.

So far, there have been identified over 3,900 certified 9/11 related cancers among the responders and survivors in the program, but that number is sure to grow in the years and decades to follow. We should not have to refight this battle every few years to get Congress to do what they should. Responders continue to suffer from their injuries, some are getting sicker, others are dealing with disabling injuries and unfortunately some will die in the coming months and years from their 9/11 illnesses.

The legislation also reauthorizes the continuation of the reopened September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) as well assuring that it is adequately funded. Currently there is a real risk that the determinations for compensation that the Victim Compensation Fund has been made to date and will make in the next few years, will not have sufficient funding that will allow them to be fully paid.

As 9/11 responders and survivors are diagnosed with cancer in the coming years or they become more ill from their injuries, so compensation must continue to be available. More than 1500 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New York Police Department personnel have had to retire from their jobs because of their 9/11-related illnesses, including cancers. When people lose their livelihoods because of their service at Ground Zero, our country cannot turn its back.

Please help us fight for passage of the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Please join us Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act to support these efforts.

Please urge your Congressman or Senator to co-sponsor the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

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