Posted: September 8, 2015


Benjamin Chevat

9/11 Bill Passed in 2010 After Almost Decade Long Fight Is Set to Expire This Year – Sick & Dying First Responders Have Made Repeated Trips to Washington This Year in Push For Permanent Extension of James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act

As Host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart Played A Key Role in Passage of the Original Zadroga Bill in 2010 by Devoting An Entire Show to the Plight of Our First Responders – Participants in 9/11 Health Program Living in All 50 States and 429 of 435 Congressional Districts

New York, NY – The Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act and tireless 9/11 advocate John Feal jointly announced today that Jon Stewart, formerly host of The Daily Show, will be joining over 100 hundred first responders in Washington DC on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 for a lobbying day on Capitol Hill organized by Citizens and Feal aimed at permanently extending the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act. The Zadroga bill that was originally passed in December 2010 after almost a decade long fight is set to begin to expire later this year. 

Jon Stewart will kick-off the day of lobbying by leading an outdoor rally of 9/11 responders and survivors before accompanying one of the many teams of first responders as they walk the halls to meet with members of Congress. Groups of first responders, including sick and dying firefighters, police officers, construction workers and others have already repeated made lobbying trips to Washington this year to urge lawmakers to join in sponsoring legislation to reauthorize and fully fund the two Zadroga bill’s critical programs – the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11thVictim Compensation Fund. Experts say that without these programs lives will be put at risk. In April, a bipartisan group of Senators and members of the House of Representatives introduced legislation in both chambers to permanently extend these programs, HR. 1786/S. 928.

On December 16, 2010, Jon Stewart devoted The Daily Show’s final episode of the year to shining a light on the need for Congress to do the right thing and stand with our first responders by finally passing the Zadroga bill. This episode played a key role in the ultimate passage of the bill one week later on the final day of the lame duck session of Congress. This past July, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Stewart discussed the need for a permanent extension of the 9/11 Zadroga bill like similar existing programs covering sick coal miners, and atomic weapons plant workers and nuclear energy workers, with Stewart saying, “This is such bullsh*t it’s insane…We are not letting this go this time, because this one honestly, is the most galling example of a legislature removed from the purpose of their job, and from the patriotism flag that they wave so heartedly when it serves their needs.” Off-stage, to Gillibrand and a group of first responders in the audience, he offered to come to Washington in September and help out in any way he could.   

“Thank you Jon Stewart for coming to DC to help us cut through the hypocrisy and the nonsense to help injured 9/11 responders and survivors get the permanent help they need and deserve,” said Richard Alles, Deputy Chief FDNY, Board Member, Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act.

“Jon Stewart now joins the ranks of those who walk the hall ways for a fraternity of heroes who challenge Congress to ensure the James Zadroga Health & Compensation is permanently extended,” said tireless 9/11 advocate John Feal. “Jon Stewart could have retired from the Daily Show and enjoyed the rest of his life. Instead his chose to join yesterday’s heroes and advocate for thousands who suffer. That makes him my hero!”

“Jon Stewart and our first responders shouldn’t have to be in Washington walking the halls of Congress to keep the health care program running that our heroes need and deserve.  Congress should do the right thing and treat our 9/11 heroes who answered the call of duty with the same dignity and respect as our veterans,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “We cannot abandon the men and women who now suffer as a result of their sacrifice, and must pass a permanent extension of the programs they rely upon. These heroes should not have to beg for the benefits they have earned, and I will proudly walk with them until we secure the health and compensation programs they deserve.”

‎”Our 9/11 heroes did not flinch when they put themselves in danger in the days and months after the attack, and now far too many now suffer from serious illnesses as a result of that work,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. These heroes deserve a fully-funded and permanent health monitoring and ‎compensation program and I will be working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to promptly renew this vital program‎ because our heroes deserve no less.”

“Jon Stewart was one of the driving forces behind getting the Zadroga Act passed in the first place, but the law is set to expire unless Congress acts again” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Jon’s upcoming visit to Capitol Hill will draw much needed attention to make these programs permanent. The ailing 9/11 responders and survivors are suffering a range of health care problems. We can’t force them to come back here every five years to beg for their health care. Nobody understands that better than Jon Stewart, and nobody is better suited to make sure Congress gets the message.”

“Jon Stewart was on the front lines of the battle helping us to establish these programs, and we are all grateful to him for once again fighting for our 9/11 heroes.  We must reauthorize the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act now,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Thousands of responders and survivors depend on these programs for their lives, and we cannot turn our backs on the brave men and women who risked everything in the days, weeks, and months following the attacks to rebuild our city and their lives.  I urge all of my colleagues in Congress to join us in passing this legislation.”

“To this day too many of our 9/11 responders and survivors continue to fight serious illnesses, including more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins,” said Congressman Peter King. “This reauthorization is critical for these individuals and their families. We have come too far and we must continue to ensure that our 9/11 heroes receive the care they deserve.”


As the nation recovered from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a public health disaster was just beginning to unfold. After 9/11, Americans from all 50 states rushed to Ground Zero to help in any way they could.  Thousands of brave men and women risked their lives to help others, working in extremely hazardous conditions often without proper protective equipment while the Federal Government assured them that the air was safe.  Many were injured in the course of this work.  

Rescue and recovery workers breathed in a toxic stew of chemicals, asbestos, pulverized cement, and other health hazards released into the air when the towers fell, and as the site smoldered for months.  The dust cloud that rolled through lower Manhattan after the attacks settled in homes, offices, and buildings – exposing tens of thousands more residents, students area workers to the same toxins. 

Today, more than 33,000 9/11 responders and survivors are struggling with illnesses or injuries caused by the attacks.  They live in every state and 429 out of 435 Congressional districts nationwide.  Many are disabled and can no longer work.  They are suffering from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, to name but a few.  Medical research has identified more than 50 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins.  At least 3,700 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by 9/11 – a number that is sure to grow in the years to come.

To date over  85 NYPD police officers have reportedly died from their 9/11 injuries since 9/11, more than were killed on 9/11 and more than 110 FDNY firefighters have also died with in the years since, with more deaths expected among all the responders and survivors. 

Here are two videos that let injured 9/11 responders and survivors and those that care for them explain the problem.
Renew James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

Nurses ask Washington to save cancer treatment for the 9/11 Heroes they care for!
 Interview with John Feal on RNN telling the stories of first responders.