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Nadler, Maloney, Garbarino, and Gillibrand Introduce the Bipartisan 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act

WASHINGTON, DC  Today, the lead sponsors of the bipartisan James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which created the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), announced the introduction of the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act. This legislation - introduced by Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn B. Maloney, and Andrew Garbarino in the House and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate - would address a funding shortfall in the WTCHP and ensure its adequate funding now and in the future. It would also make minor corrections to the 2010 statute and authorize the program to develop a research cohort to study the impact of the toxic exposures and psychological trauma on the more than 35,000 people who were children at the time of the attack and resided or attended school or daycare in the NYC disaster area in the aftermath of the attack.

Today, the WTCHP provides medical treatment and monitoring for over 100,000 responders and survivors from the World Trade Center and lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville, PA crash site, who live in every state and in 434 out of 435 Congressional Districts. While Congress extended the program to 2090, the funding needs of the WTCHP exceed the current funding formula. Because of that, in the coming years, the WTCHP will not have sufficient funds to provide care for all those still suffering the physical and mental impacts of 9/11. This includes responders and survivors who will be newly diagnosed with 9/11-associated cancers caused by their toxic exposures.

“As the twenty-year anniversary of the September 11th approaches, we must all reflect on the cost borne by the heroic responders and survivors made ill by their exposure to toxins in the days, weeks, and months after the attack. Just as they did not fail us in the aftermath of that terrible day, we cannot fail to provide them with the support that they deserve,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “I’m proud to introduce the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act, which will ensure that the World Trade Center Health Program remains fully funded and survivors and responders receive the care they need. It’s the right thing to do.”

“Our country made a promise after 9/11 to always be there for the firefighters, the police, the EMTs, the workers clearing the pile, and survivors, residents, area workers, and students who got sick or injured from the toxins at ground zero,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “A promise we kept when we made the 9/11 health program essentially permanent. The funding provided in the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act will ensure that everyone impacted by this tragic event gets the care they rightfully need and deserve.”

“The World Trade Center Health Program provides medical services to first responders and survivors impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attack, but the program is quickly running out of funds,” said Congressman Andrew Garbarino. “It’s essential that we ensure the program has the resources it needs to continue to help those still suffering the long-term effects of this horrific attack. I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation to replenish funding for this program so that those who need it most continue to have access to care.”

“The victims of September 11th are not just the men and women killed on that terrible day – countless American lives continue to be claimed by illnesses linked to the attacks,” said Senator Gillibrand. “In 2011, we established the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) to provide first responders, survivors and their families with the health care benefits needed to treat 9/11-related health conditions. Today, we must uphold that promise and ensure that the program will have the funds it needs now and into the future. I’m urging my colleagues to prioritize and pass the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act, and to remember that “we will never forget 9/11” is not just a slogan, but a reality we must uphold.”

As the nation observes the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this legislation is needed to ensure that the slogan that we will “Never Forget 9/11” is a reality and that 9/11 responders and survivors will continue to get the care that they need and deserve.

Cosponsors of the bill include Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), David McKinley (R-WV), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), Jim Himes (D-CT), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Don Bacon (R-NE), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), John Katko (R-NY), Joe Morelle (D-NY), David Joyce (R-OH), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY), and Sens. Schumer (D-NY), Menendez (D-NJ), Booker (D-NJ), Murphy (D-CT), and Blumenthal (D-CT).

Background

After the attack on September 11, 2001, thousands of responders rushed to the scenes and spent months combing through the wreckage looking for remains. In New York, the residents and workers were urged by the government to return to their homes and business and reopen the Financial District. The federal government assured them that the air they were breathing was safe, when in fact it was filled with toxic pollutants that continue to kill and disable 9/11 responders and survivors to this day.

In 2010, Congress finally responded to this health crisis with bipartisan action by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which created the WTCHP and reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. In subsequent years, Congress, with bipartisan support in 2015 and 2019, moved to expand both programs’ funding and extend their authorizations to ensure that both those injured and their families would get the help they need and deserve.

The full bill text can be found here.

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