9/11 Health Bill Sponsors Lead Bipartisan Tri-State Area Delegation in Telling Mulvaney to Stay Away from 9/11 Health Program

Mar 7, 2018 Issues: 9/11 Attacks, Health Care

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY), the original sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015, led a bipartisan group of 32 other members from the Tri-State Area in urging Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to withdraw his proposal to separate the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

In the letter, the Members state, “This proposal directly contradicts the bi-partisan legislation Congress passed just three years ago with overwhelming support to renew the World Trade Center Health Program for 75 years. It will further unnecessarily put at risk the health of our constituents and those around the country suffering, and in too many cases dying, from their 9/11-related injuries 17 years later. We urge you to withdraw it.”

Under NIOSH, the WTCHP has provided medical monitoring and treatment to more than 83,000 9/11 responders and survivors, including responders to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville Crash site, as well as survivors from Lower Manhattan and North West Brooklyn. These 83,000+ live and receive treatment across the country, in all 50 states and territories, in 433 of 435 congressional districts.

Signers of the letter are:

  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
  • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
  • Peter King (R-NY)
  • Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
  • Joe Courtney (D-CT)
  • Joe Crowley (D-NY)
  • Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
  • Dan Donovan (R-NY)
  • Eliot Engel (D-NY)
  • Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
  • Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
  • Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
  • Brian Higgins (D-NY)
  • Jim Himes (D-CT)
  • Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
  • John Katko (R-NY)
  • Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
  • John Larson (D-CT)
  • Nita Lowey (D-NY)
  • Tom MacArthur (R-NJ)
  • Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)
  • Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
  • Grace Meng (D-NY)
  • Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
  • Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
  • Donald Payne (D-NJ)
  • Kathleen Rice (D-NY)
  • José Serrano (D-NY)
  • Albio Sires (D-NJ)
  • Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY)
  • Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY)
  • Paul Tonko (D-NY)
  • Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
  • Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
  • Lee Zeldin (R-NY)

 

Full text of the letter below and a PDF can be found here.

Dear Director Mulvaney,

We are writing concerning your proposal in the President’s FY 2019 Budget to move the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and to remove the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) from NIOSH management and supervision and leaving it as a freestanding entity within the CDC.  This proposal directly contradicts the bi-partisan legislation Congress passed just three years ago with overwhelming support to renew the World Trade Center Health Program for 75 years. It will further unnecessarily put at risk the health of our constituents and those around the country suffering, and in too many cases dying, from their 9/11-related injuries 17 years later. We urge you to withdraw it.

NIOSH has been at the forefront of responding to the injuries caused by the toxins at Ground Zero, first through the original monitoring and treatment program and then with the first statutory program created by the original James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, a bill we fought hard to pass. It was this expertise in occupational health that led then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson to originally select Dr. John Howard, a Bush Administration appointee, to lead the administration’s response to the health crisis facing 9/11 responders and survivors.

Since then, NIOSH has made tremendous progress in providing medical monitoring and treatment to 9/11 responders and survivors, who now number over 83,000. That group includes responders to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Shanksville Crash site, as well as survivors from Lower Manhattan and North West Brooklyn. They now live and seek treatment in every state and territory, as well as 433 out of 435 Congressional districts.

Yet this ill-advised proposal, which was made with no input from the 9/11 health community, completely ignores the years of work NIOSH has already done and reflects a lack of understanding of why we worked to have NIOSH supervise and manage the WTC Health Program. If you had spoken to those with experience in the 9/11 health community, you would have understood that the World Trade Center Health Program is fully integrated within NIOSH, utilizing the expertise of the staff in many shared positions that could not be continued if the Health Program were to be pulled from NIOSH. For example, the program is in the process of changing its prescription benefit provider. This is a complex process that requires careful 

coordination to avoid program members, especially cancer patients, missing their medications. Moving the WTC Health Program from NIOSH would be unnecessarily disruptive.  

None of the Office of Management and Budget documents describe how the WTC Health Program would be untangled from NIOSH, nor do they address how this change would be achieved without negatively impacting the health of the 9/11 responders and survivors who rely on the WTC Health Program. Many of these brave men and women are facing cancer and other terminal and disabling injuries. If this proposal moves forward, they will have the added burden of fear and uncertainty that stems from having to continually fight to protect the comprehensive health care the federal government promised them.

We believe that OMB should withdraw this misguided proposal immediately.

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