The Senate and House of Representatives is expected to vote on reauthorization of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act later this week, WABC reports. The Act provides medical benefits and compensation to ailing 9/11 responders through its two programs: the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The WTC Health Program has already expired and is running on cash reserves; the VCF is slated to end next October.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who spearheaded the legislation, said “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.”
Zadroga reauthorization is being included in the year-end tax and spending bill, which Congress is expected to vote on later this week. The potential renewal is a $8.1 billion measure included in the $1.1 trillion year-end tax and spending bill. The measure would fully fund the VCF through 2021. The WTC Health Program would be renewed until 2090.
“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.” said Sen. Charles Schumer. The WTC Health Program provides medical treatment to over 33,000 sick responders and monitors 70,000.
“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.” said Rep. Pete King. Exposure to the toxic dust during 9/11 is associated with many health conditions, including respiratory disorders and dozens of different cancers. Sick responders live in every state and in 433 out of 435 Congressional districts.