On The Heels Of 9/11, Nadler, Gillibrand, Schumer, Garbarino, Braun, D’Esposito, Goldman Champion Bipartisan Push To Include Senate-Passed Amendment To Help Close World Trade Center Health Program Funding Gap In Final NDAA
Washington, D.C, September 14, 2023
Tags: 9/11 Attacks
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the heels of 9/11, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) are announcing a bipartisan push to include their Senate-passed amendment to help address the funding shortfall in the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) in the final version of the FY24 NDAA. Their amendment--championed in a letter of support by Representative Nadler (D-NY-12), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-02), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY-4), and Dan Goldman (D-NY-10)--would deliver $676 million for the WTCHP and allow excluded Pentagon and Shanksville responders to join the program. The Gillibrand-Braun amendment is modeled off the bipartisan 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act of 2023 and is fully offset by reforms that will reduce administrative costs in the federal government.
“This July, the Senate voted to uphold our promise to care for all those still suffering from 9/11-related illnesses by helping to close the funding gap in the World Trade Center Health Program. Unless Congress acts, the WTCHP will not have the funding it needs to continue providing services to all who need them and will be forced to bar all new enrollees by 2028,” said the lawmakers. “To honor those we lost and to thank those who risked everything to save their fellow Americans, we urge congressional leadership to include our amendment in the final NDAA conference report. In doing so, we would guarantee that these heroic men and women are able to continue to receive the health care benefits they need and deserve.”
After years of efforts and calls on the federal government, Congress established the WTCHP on a bipartisan basis in 2011 with a five-year authorization to provide medical treatment and monitoring for 9/11 responders and survivors suffering from the effects of the toxins at Ground Zero. The program covers the lifespans of all exposed, including responders and survivors of the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the Shanksville crash site, children who were in schools in downtown Manhattan on 9/11 and during clean-up, and those who have since experienced, or are expected to experience, adverse health effects that are linked to the attacks in the coming years. The program was reauthorized in 2015 and extended through 2090 with bipartisan support. In 2022, lawmakers delivered $1 billion for the program in the end-of-year spending bill.
Today, eight years since Congress reauthorized the program, it is estimated that the funding formula in the statute will not be able to keep pace with the anticipated costs of providing the program’s services for 9/11 heroes, who span all fifty states and 434 of the 435 congressional districts. Soon, the WTCHP will not have the funds needed to provide care for all those still suffering the physical and mental impacts of 9/11 and for those who have yet to be diagnosed with new 9/11-associated conditions caused by their toxic exposures.