E-Newsletter: Jon Stewart for the 9-11 Zadroga Bill and Planned Parenthood Videos

Sep 21, 2015 Issues: 9/11 Attacks, Health Care

Dear Friends, 

I wanted to let you know about the progress we are making in reauthorizing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and about my efforts to defend Planned Parenthood from partisan attacks.

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart Calls for Extending Health Program for 9/11 Responders and Survivors


Comedy Central's Jon Stewart Calls for Extending Health Program for 9/11 Responders and Survivors

         On Wednesday, I was joined by Jon Stewart, former host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, to push for the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides health coverage for survivors and first responders who were injured on 9/11.

         Five years ago, Stewart played a key role in our fight to get health coverage and compensation for those suffering from the aftermath of the attacks.  He focused attention on the issue and dedicated his final show of the year to interviewing the heroes of 9/11 who were suffering with severe health consequences as a result of their service at Ground Zero.  A week later the bill passed.

         Last week, he was in Washington with me fighting to build support for reauthorizing the programs.  We were joined by dozens of 9/11 survivors and first responders who walked the halls of Congress to demand action on the Zadroga Act. In the past few days, seven U.S. Senators and 25 Members of Congress from both parties have cosponsored the Zadroga Act reauthorization, bringing the total support on Capitol Hill to 43 Senators and 168 Members of Congress.

         In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “we do plan to extend the program, and the committees of jurisdiction, the House and Senate, are actually working on the details now.”

         Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said that “It is a top priority of the Senate Health Committee to reauthorize the legislation that provides health care and support to the September 11th first responders and survivors.”

         We are making significant progress in our efforts to reauthorize these programs to help police, firefighters, residents, area workers, and students who continue to suffer the health consequences from the September 11 attacks and the subsequent clean-up and recovery efforts.

        Congress must act to ensure that the health care and support programs for tens of thousands of survivors and responders will not lapse. Congress must pass the bill now and reauthorize these programs.  We appreciate the support of Jon Stewart and the attention and focus he was once again able to bring to our efforts.

Defending Planned Parenthood from Partisan Attacks

Another Attack to End Safe, Legal Reproductive Health Services for Millions of Women


        As you may have seen, Republicans and anti-choice activists are once again engaged in their War on Women. A series of highly-edited undercover “gotcha” videos have been released in a blatant attempt to smear Planned Parenthood, a provider of vital reproductive health services to millions of women and families. These videos are nothing more than another witch hunt: an elaborate scheme to attack the organization, deny the Constitutional and moral rights of women across the country, and advance a radical anti-choice agenda in America.

         Produced by a fake medical organization, the Center for Medical Progress, these videos have been selectively edited to insinuate that Planned Parenthood breaks the law by selling fetal tissue to medical organizations conducting life-saving research. For decades, Planned Parenthood has complied with the laws and regulations surrounding fetal tissue research. Despite the media storm over the last several weeks, there is no evidence that Planned Parenthood has engaged in any wrongdoing or violated the law in any manner, whatsoever. These videos are just the latest attempt in a long history of false allegations by anti-abortion activists.

          Despite the lack of evidence, Republicans in Congress have already made up their minds. As one in a series of biased, partisan investigations, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing in an attempt to smear Planned Parenthood. At this hearing, I spoke out on the farcical nature of the hearing and defended the excellent work of Planned Parenthood. (Click here to see the video).

          The goal behind the videos is clear – to smear Planned Parenthood, a well-respected organization that has provided life-saving health care, counseling, and support to millions of women. This is one more step in a strategy to cut off access to safe, legal abortion and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood across the board. These efforts are designed to shame women for exercising their constitutional right to an abortion, scare abortion providers into ending their services, and eliminate options for women to access health services.I strongly oppose these efforts and, therefore, voted against defunding Planned Parenthood.