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 September 17th 2014, legislation, HR. 5503 and S. 2844, the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2014”, which will renew and extend the Health and Compensation program that are helping thousands of injured and ill 9/11 Responders and Survivors, was introduced in both houses of Congress by Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King along with 37 other original cosponsors in the House, and by Senators Kristin Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer and seven other original Senate cosponsors in the Senate

While this should be something that Washington should be able to agree on, taking care of 9/11 Responders and Survivors, there are too many in Congress who say they “Remember 9/11,” but then turn their backs on the heroes and survivors who need their health care to continue.

If the opposition wins and the bill is not reauthorized, injured and ill 9/11 Responders and Survivors who are receiving specialized treatment from the World Trade Center Health Program for their 9/11 injuries would no longer receive their health care, and over 60,000 responders would lose their medical monitoring. More than 30,000 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, among others. Over 60 New York Police Department officers and over 80 Firefighters have reportedly died of their 9/11 injuries since 9/11 and more are expected in the coming years.

The new legislation will continue to fund monitoring and treatment through 2041, so that 9/11 Responders and Survivors who are sick and disabled will not have to come begging to Congress every five years just to continue the care they need. The bill also extends the programs through 2041 because 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, at least 2,900 9/11 Responders and Survivors have been diagnosed with cancer caused or made worse by 9/11, but that number is sure to grow in the years and decades to follow. We should not have to refight this battle every five 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 injuries.

The legislation also reauthorizes the reopened September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) through 2041 as well. 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 800 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.