September 18, 2014 – Legislation to reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was introduced in both chambers of Congress this week. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act was introduced as S. 2844 by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) in the Senate, and H.R. 5503 by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) in the House.
The bill’s two programs, the World Trade Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, are set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016 absent Congressional action. The reauthorization bill would extend the two programs through 2041.
“We will never forget the heroes of 9/11, and must never let down our watch to ensure that the survivors and responders continue to receive the health and compensation they deserve,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “This is our moral obligation as citizens of this great nation. I call upon every member of Congress to cosponsor the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act.”
Thirteen years after that tragic day, fire fighters and other responders to the attacks continue to become ill. More than 30,000 individuals suffer from an injury or illness linked to the attacks or their aftermath. Eighty-nine members of the Fire Department of New York have died due to 9/11 illnesses, and more than 800 members have become ill.
Survivors suffer from a variety of diseases, including asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastrointestinal disorders and significantly, cancer. More than 60 types of cancer have been proven linked to the 9/11 toxins, and more than 2,900 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or worsened by the attacks. The number of ill is only expected to rise with time.
Little time remains in the current congressional session, and it is unlikely that Congress will move the Zadroga Act before the end of the year. The bills will be reintroduced in the next session of Congress, in 2015, and the IAFF will take a major role working to enact the Zadroga Act into law.