Garbarino, Nadler, D ’Esposito, Goldman, and Gillibrand, Schumer Introduce Legislation to Deal with the Impending Funding Shortfall Facing the World Trade Center Health Program
Statement from Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act
on the introduction of the Bipartisan “9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act of 2023”
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, Inc. applauded the introduction of the “9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act of 2023” which addresses the impending funding shortfall facing the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).
This bipartisan legislation—introduced by Reps. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Anthony D‘Esposito (R-NY), Dan Goldman (D-NY), and nearly the entire New York Congressional delegation along with Members of Congress from other States and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) in the Senate—would close the budget gap in the WTCHP so that it can continue serving more than 120,000 responders and survivors impacted by the toxins at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville crash site.
The “9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act of 2023” will address the impending budget shortfall in the program that is being caused by the precipitous rise in overall medical costs and in cancer rates that the program has experienced, which is leading to a shortfall in funding in the coming years.
The World Trade Center Health Program has stated that unless Congress acts, they would have to close the program to new enrollees by 2028 and cut medical treatment services that injured and ill responders and survivors are receiving.
The new bill also includes language which would also ensure that all responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville, active duty military and civilians could join the health program and get medical monitoring and treatment.
“It’s unconscionable that once again 9/11 responders and survivors are left wondering if the vital healthcare they are counting on and that they undeniably need and deserve will be there for them in the future. Congress did the right thing when the program was passed and extended in 2015. Now Congress has a moral obligation to fix this once and for all by passing legislation that will address the impending budget shortfall and make much needed corrections to the program. Thank you, Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer, and Representatives Garbarino, Goldman, D’Esposito, and Nadler for leading this critical effort.” – Ryan Delgado, President of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act and New York State AFL-CIO Chief of Staff.
“The budget shortfall is predictable, and Congress can—and should—fix it,” said Benjamin Chevat, Executive Director of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act. “The sponsors today have kept faith with the pledge to ‘Never Forget’ and their action today is a testament to their determination, ensuring that those injured and dealing with the impact of the toxins at Ground Zero continue to be cared for. We urge everyone who wants to make sure the country does NOT forget to call their member of Congress and urge them to join in this effort.”
Unless Congress acts, the program will have to stop taking new enrollees and will have to cut back medical services to 9/11 responders and survivors, and some responders will continue to be excluded from the WTCHP.
The lead sponsors of the “9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act of 2023” were joined in introducing the bill by:
Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Anthony D‘Esposito (R-NY), Dan Goldman (D-NY), Nick LaLota (R-NY),Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Pat Ryan (D-NY), Marc Molinaro (R-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Brandon Williams (R-NY), Nick Langworthy (R-NY), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Joe Morelle (D-NY), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), John Larson (D-CT), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Sean Casten (D-IL), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA).
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
As the members of Congress stated in their press release:
“Once again, I’m introducing a bill to close the funding shortfall in the World Trade Center Health Program to guarantee care for all those still suffering from 9/11-related illnesses. We promised to never forget the heroes, but we will fall short until the WTCHP is fully funded and every responder is covered,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud to lead the bipartisan 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act with Congressman Garbarino, Leader Schumer, and this strong bipartisan coalition. Our heroes should be focusing their time and energy on their health, not lobbying the halls of Congress. We must get this done.”
“Before the smoke even cleared on 9/11, our brave first responses leapt into action. Police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and everyday folks made a sacrifice on that day – and in the months that followed – that honored their country. Last Congress, despite GOP opposition, we fought hard for —and delivered—an additional one billion dollars to help sustain the World Trade Center Workers’ Health Program. And today we are working to make sure this program never runs out of the dollars it needs to ensure our Ground Zero heroes receive the treatments they need and the healthcare they deserve.” -Majority Leader Schumer
“More than 20 years ago, we experienced the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history. Today, tens of thousands of 9/11 survivors and responders are living with the ramifications of that day,” said Congressman Garbarino. “When Congress first established the World Trade Center Health Program, a promise was made to care for those Americans, but now a looming funding gap threatens their access to healthcare for 9/11 related illnesses and injuries. The bipartisan bicameral 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act is our chance to fulfill our promise – once and for all – to Never Forget by closing the funding gap and ensuring the WTCHP is equipped to care for those who need it for years to come. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her partnership in this effort and I look forward to continuing to work together to get this done.”
The original James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was originally passed in 2010 and extended and reauthorized in 2015 until 2090.