U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the lead Senate sponsor of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) along with Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Dan Donovan (R-NY) today announced that Senate and House leaders have agreed to include an effectively permanent, 75 year renewal of the World Trade Center Health Program and a five year, fully funded renewal of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund in the final omnibus spending bill Congress is set to pass later this week.
Congressman Nadler, who sponsored the original Zadroga Act and the House legislation for its reauthorization along with Reps. Maloney and King, said: “I am thrilled to report the FY2016 omnibus posted by the Republicans last night includes reauthorization of the 9/11 Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund. The language is not perfect, but this is a major victory for the first responders and survivors of 9/11 and all those who have fought by their sides for the last 14 years. The bill will ensure the health program is available to support the tens of thousands of sick responders and survivors for as long as they need it without cutting any benefits. It also guarantees that no one who has received a determination from the VCF will see their support cut and will continue providing support and compensation to responders and survivors. I want to thank everyone who walked the halls of Congress to bring us to this point. As a result of their tireless efforts, tens of thousands of families will have the care and support they need for as long as they need it. I urge all my colleagues to support this legislation.”
The Senators and Congress Members each made the following statements:
“This agreement is incredible news for our 9/11 heroes and their families, and it is a testament to the extraordinary power that Americans can have when they raise their voice and demand action,“ said U.S.Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the lead sponsor of the legislation in the Senate. “Our 9/11 first responders never should have been forced to travel to Washington and walk the halls of Congress – legislation this important shouldn’t have needed so much convincing – but after dozens of trips, they finally got the job done and convinced Congress to fulfill its moral obligation to our 9/11 heroes. I’m proud to represent them, and I’m grateful for their efforts.”
"This is the Christmas the 9/11 responders deserved: some peace of mind for each and every hero. Their selfless actions in response to that tragic day deserve a lifetime’s worth of care and respect, so it is welcome news that Congress has finally agreed to fully fund the 9/11 Health Program, providing security to those brave men and women throughout their lives. Thank you to Senator Gillibrand, my other colleagues, firefighters, cops, veterans, union workers and everyone else who fought on behalf of our 9/11 first responders, walking the halls of Congress to win support for these vital health services,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said, “Fourteen years ago I became concerned about the health effects of exposure to toxins at Ground Zero. Eleven years ago I introduce the first 9/11 health bill. Five years ago we got it passed. This week we will make it permanent. We will never fully repay the sacrifices our first responders made following September 11th. All they ask of us is that we never forget–and Congress is now sending a clear message back: we haven’t. This is a major bipartisan victory for the survivors and responders who were counting on us to get this done.”
“Today we return to Washington to finally cast our votes on creating a permanent health program for all those who risked their lives in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “We could not have reached this day without all your incredible hard work and tireless advocacy on behalf of our 9/11 heroes and survivors, and I am proud to stand with you today as my colleagues and I prepare to return to Washington and take this important vote.”
“Passing the Zadroga bill was a long hard fight for the brave cops, firefighters and construction workers who put their lives and health on the line at Ground Zero. They deserve the very best medical care and treatment and I was proud to be part of this successful effort,” said Congressman Pete King.
Congressman Dan Donovan said, “This is right, this is good, and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it. I always said that on the merits – on the facts of this case – we will win. In the House, I had full confidence that Speaker Ryan, Chairman Upton, and Chairman Goodlatte would come through for true American heroes, and they did. Leader McConnell, Sen. Gillibrand, and Sen. Schumer also deserve credit and gratitude for their parallel work in the Senate.”