Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and original sponsor of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, released the following statement after Congress passed the FY16 Omnibus spending bill, which contained legislation providing for a permanent extension of the World Trade Center Health Program, and a five year reauthorization of the Victim Compensation Fund.
Below is the full statement from Rep. Nadler with the passing of Zadroga Act reauthorization as part of the Omnibus:
“Today is a victory for the responders and survivors of September 11 and for the allies who have fought alongside us for years to reach this moment. For fourteen years, we promised the responders and survivors of the September 11 attacks that we would never forget their sacrifice; we would never forget their bravery. Today, Congress finally lived up to that promise. And I am proud of my country today, for fulfilling our commitment to never leaving the wounded on the battlefield.
“The survivors of September 11 – the people who lived, worked, and went to school in Lower Manhattan and bravely returned to their homes, offices, and schools in the aftermath of the attack – and the responders—the brave police and firefighters who rushed to the World Trade Center in the moments and days after the attack, and toiled on the pile for months in toxic fumes and dust--will never again have to walk the halls of Congress begging for our help. They now know that the government keeps its promises.
“I know this bill raised concerns for many of my colleagues – and it was not a perfect bill – but today’s vote was imperative to ensure that the responders and survivors of September 11 will never again feel betrayed by Congress nor question if we remember their sacrifice. These heroes worked to rescue victims, recover those we lost on that day, and rebuild Lower Manhattan—both with bricks and mortar, and by returning to their homes, schools and work. They came back to Lower Manhattan without thinking about their own health risks and without proper protection against the toxins released by the towers because the federal government lied and said the air was safe to breathe. As a result, many responders and survivors have died of 9-11 related illnesses and many more continue to suffer. The specialized health care and compensation funded by this bill will continue to ease the suffering of these brave men and women and guarantee their families have the support they need. Our heroes deserve never to worry that their health care will disappear, or that their families will struggle because of 9-11’s aftermath. And after today, they will not have to.
“Thank you to my colleagues – Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer, Congresswoman Maloney, Congressman King,– for their tireless work on this issue. Thank you to the Democratic Leadership in the House – including Minority Leader Pelosi and Ranking Member Nita Lowey – for fighting to attach this language to the Omnibus. Thank you to all of the responders and survivors who never stopped working to get this bill passed, to everyone who gave their time and energy to knock on one more door or make one more phone call. And thank you to those who did not survive to see this day. Today’s victory is a tribute to all of your work."