Remember 9/11 should be more than a bumper sticker

Presidential Candidates

At the beginning of the nominating process for both the Republican and Democratic parties, all of the candidates for President pledged to “Never forget 9/11”. They have praised the heroism of 9/11 first responders.

This was at the same time that health care and compensation programs to help ailing 9/11 responders and survivors were due to expire unless Congress renewed the programs by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

During the summer and fall of 2015, we wrote two letters to all the candidates running for President and called upon them to tell the American people whether they support renewing federal aid for those who are sick and dying because of the attacks.

You can also see copies of the letters we sent below.

We had three simple questions:

  • As a candidate for President, will you join in urging Congress to pass HR. 1786/ S928?
  • If you were elected President would you sign HR 1786/ S 928 if it was passed by Congress?
  • If you answered “no” to urging Congress to pass the bill or to signing the bill into law, please explain why.

Of those running for President during the primaries, only Governors O’Malley, Pataki and Huckabee, Secretary Clinton and Senators Rubio, Graham and Sanders made clear that they supported extending 9/11 Health and Compensation programs for injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors and supported Congress taking action.

Below, we complied what the candidates said about “never forgetting 9/11” — so you can see if their words matched their actions.

“Remember 9/11” should be more than a bumper sticker. While the legislation to extend the programs was finally passed Congress and signed into law by President Obama, we still want to know why some candidates for President do not think they have to answer the question.

Read more about what the candidates for President are saying or NOT saying about 9/11 responders and survivors

The August 19th Letter

Below is the full text of our August 2015 letter to the candidates. A copy of our October 2015 follow-up letter can be found by clicking on the webpage we’ve created for each candidate.

I am writing to you on behalf of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act Inc. of which I am member of its Board of Directors. I am currently a Deputy Chief for the New York City Fire Department and was a first responder to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and the days and months afterwards.

With the approaching 14th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I am writing to all candidates for President on behalf of all 70,000 9/11 responders to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site and survivors from the World Trade Center attack, who come from every State and almost all 429 of 435 Congressional districts and are currently receiving medical treatment and medical monitoring from the World Trade Center Health Program as well as the thousands who have applied for compensation for their injuries from the reopened September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

These programs that were created by James Zadroga Act which was finally passed in 2010 – will shut down next year in October 2016, unless Congress takes action and passes the bipartisan James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization, HR. 1786/ S 928.

Unless Congress acts some 33,000 injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors, of which over 3,700 currently have a 9/11 cancer– will lose their medical treatment.

Unless Congress acts, the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund will shut down just days after the 15th Anniversary of the attacks and 9/11 responders and survivors seeking compensation could end up receiving 50% less in help than they are expecting– and those that develop cancer in the coming years from their exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero will have nowhere to turn, facing massive medical bills and massive worry for the future.

We are all familiar with 9/11 and the events in days after, when thousands responded to the attacks on the Twin towers, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site. The nation and its leaders said that they would “Never Forget 9/11”.

Sadly, all too often that phrase has been empty rhetoric from Washington politicians. It took Congress nine years to pass the Zadroga Act for a limited five-year period–even as responders got sick and started to die from their injuries. Over 85 NYPD Police officers and over 110 FDNY Firefighters have died from their 9/11 injuries since 9/11, and nearly every week there is another press report about a responder dying from their 9/11-caused illness.

Now we are waiting to see if Congress will take action and make these programs permanent.

In order to make an informed choice in the 2016 presidential election, we would like to know your position on renewing the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation fund and making them both permanent and fully funded.

So we are asking all the candidates, of both parties the following questions.

1. As a Candidate for President, will you join in urging Congress to pass HR. 1786/ S928?

2. If you were elected President would you sign HR 1786/ S 928 if it was passed by Congress?

3. If you answered “No” to urging Congress to pass the bill or to signing the bill into law, please explain why.

Please return your answers by emailing Ben.Chevat@renew911health.org or sending them by postal mail to Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act 15 Cheviot Ct, Clifton Park, NY 12065 by August 31, 2015. Thank you for cooperating with our survey.

We all know that the world has changed since 9/11. But America has always protected it’s own. I believe that the thousands of responders and survivors of the 9/11 attacks have earned the nation’s support.

We plan to publish the responses we receive.

Sincerely,

Richard Alles
Deputy Fire Chief
Uniformed Fire Officers Association
Board Member, Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, Inc.

Democratic Nominee

CandidateWill you urge Congress to pass HR. 1786/ S.928?As President, would you sign HR. 1786/S. 928?Learn more and read complete responses
Hillary ClintonHillary ClintonYes!Yes!More information

Republican Nominee

CandidateWill you urge Congress to pass HR. 1786/ S.928?As President, would you sign HR. 1786/S. 928?Learn more and read complete responses
Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNo response yet receivedMore information