Statement on the passage by the Senate of the Gillibrand/Braun Amendment that will ensure that all 911 responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville, including former active-duty soldiers and sailors, can enroll in the WTC Health Program and will help to close the impending funding shortfall threatening the program
Today’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 94 to 4, was sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), along with Senator Charles Schumer(D-NY) and will:
- Ensure that all 9/11 responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville who were active-duty DOD military or 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.
This amendment was fully paid for under legislative rules.
Benjamin Chevat, Executive Director of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act stated, “We are grateful for the continuing efforts of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)and Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY),who were joined in this bipartisan effort by Indianna Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and we want to thank them for their work on behalf of 9/11 injured and ill responders who now will be able to be served by the program and for the responders and survivors in the program already.”
While there is still more work that is needed too 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 the any cuts in services to the over 124,000 responders and survivors in the program for several years.
With the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act by the Senate with such overwhelming vote, we fully expect that this provision will remain in the final version that will be sent to the President and become law after the House and Senate versions are reconciled.
We also want to also recognize the efforts by Congressional members Rep. Andrew Garbarino, (R-NY), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Anthony D ’Esposito (R-NY) and Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) who attempted to secure a similar amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in the House of Representatives.
Today’s near unanimous action by the Senate shows the continuing support for injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors from a growing number of bipartisan Members of Congress.