New York City fire fighters are spearheading efforts to get the U.S. Senate to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.The House of Representatives approved the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act or H.R. 847 by a vote of 268-160 in September. Congress first established screening, treatment and compensation programs for 9/11 responders shortly after the terrorist attacks, and has continued to provide funding for the programs each year since.Members of IAFF Local 94 and IAFF Local 854 Executive Boards were in Washington yesterday to meet with Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Scott Brown (R-MA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in hopes of getting the bill passed in Congress.

The bill is named after James Zadroga, a New York Police Department detective, who participated in the recovery efforts at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks. He served with the NYPD for 13 years. In 2006, Zadroga died at the age of 36 of respiratory illness related to the rescue and recovery operation at Ground Zero.

The bill would strengthen the existing programs in three important ways by expanding coverage to include those who lived near Ground Zero, creating a funding mechanism so the program is not subject to annual appropriations and reopening the Victims Compensation Fund so people who became ill after the Fund was closed in 2003 could receive compensation.