Statement on the Inclusion of the Gillibrand/Braun Amendment in the National Defense Authorization That Will Ensure That All 9/11 Responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville, Including Former Active Duty Soldiers and Sailors, Will Be Able to Enroll in the WTC Health Program and Will Also Help to Close the Long Term Impending Funding Shortfall Threatening the Program
Today the Leadership of the House and the Senate announced agreement on a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will be put before both Houses of Congress and if passed sent to President Biden to be signed into law will include the $676 million amendment, sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), along with Senator Charles Schumer(D-NY), which will:
- Ensure that all 9/11 responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville who were active-duty DOD military, soldiers and sailors as well as civilians, along with other Federal employees, will be able to join the program. Currently, some responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville sites are prevented from joining.
- Help to close the impending funding shortfall facing the World Trade Center Health Program by providing an additional $444 million dollars to the program over the next ten years.
Today’s announcement could not have been possible without the efforts of Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), who led the difficult effort in the House to ensure the Senate Amendment was included in the final version of the NDAA and who secured the support of Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) to join the effort.
Benjamin Chevat, Executive Director of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act stated, “We are grateful for the continuing bipartisan efforts of the House and Senate, on behalf of 9/11 injured and ill responders, ensuring this amendment remained in the final version of the legislation and thank Congressman Garbarino, Speaker Johnson, Senators Gillibrand, Schumer, Braun for their work.”
“While there is still more work that is needed to close the impending budget deficit facing the World Trade Center Health Program, today’s action, along with the effort last December to add a billion dollars to the program, are important steps forward and will push back for several years any potential cuts in services to the over 125,000 9/11responders and survivors in the program who are in every State and in 434 out of 435 Congressional Districts.”