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Lawmakers Push for Reauthorization of Zadroga Act

Dec 10, 2014

World Trade Center first responders and rescue workers selflessly risked their lives during the September 11th attacks and in the recovery efforts afterwards. Unfortunately, many have suffered cancer and other illness related to toxic dust exposure. The Zadroga Act, passed in 2010, has been instrumental in providing medical treatment and financial compensation for these 9/11 heroes. Lawmakers and others are now pushing to reauthorize the Zadroga Act and extend its programs for another 25 years.

The Zadroga Act reopened the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and established the World Trade Center Health Program. The VCF provides financial compensation to victims who suffered ailments as a result of the attacks; it is set to expire in October 2016. The WTC Health Program, which is set to expire in October 2015, provides medical treatment to victims and first responders. Reauthorizing the Zadroga Act would keep these programs open for another 25 years until 2041.

"The people who are now getting treated must continue to get treated. The people who have not yet been diagnosed but will be diagnosed must not be left hanging," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, according to NY1.

In the senate, legislation for reauthorization was introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer and seven other senators. In the House, the bill was introduced by Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Peter King and 37 others. According to 9/11 Health Watch, their efforts were joined by New York City May Bill de Blasio, 9/11 first responders, community members and union leaders.

More than 30,000 first responders and survivors have suffered injury or illness due to the aftermath of 9/11 and more than 2,900 cancer cases have been caused or worsened by exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, NY1 reports. The death toll among those who because ill in the aftermath continues to rise; at least with at least 60 deaths in the New York City Police Department and 70 among firefighters.

"We lost hundreds and hundreds of devoted public servants that terrible day. We lost thousands of civilians. And then, we started losing more," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to NY1.

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