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Parker Waichman Lobbied in Congress Yesterday for Permanent Zadroga Act Extension

Sep 17, 2015

Parker Waichman was among the many who lobbied Congress to permanently extend the 2010 Zadroga Act and ensure first responders, survivors, and their families receive full benefits under the Act’s two programs.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has, since the 2001 terrorist attacks, spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes, survivors, and fallen of the 9/11 attacks are never forgotten, announces that it was in Washington D.C. yesterday, along with scores of first responders, survivors, and advocates, including former “The Daily Show” host, Jon Stewart, who helped with passage of the 2010 Act; John Feal, first responder, founder of the advocacy group and founder of the FealGood Foundation, who was also instrumental in passage of the original Act; and Ben Chevat, former Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (Democrat-Manhattan) where he coordinated the Congresswoman’s efforts in passing the Act, and current Executive Director for Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act. The group was in Washington D.C. to lobby for permanent extension of the 9/11 Zadroga Act Health Care and Compensation programs on which many survivors and survivor families rely.

Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman, a former New York City Police (NYPD) officer, and a 9/11 responder and lobbyist was also in attendance. Mr. McCauley says he was there because, “These individuals answered the call for help at a time when their country needed them most. They and their families deserve these benefits and, because of this, the firm continues to urge Congress to reauthorize the Act.” Mr. McCauley lobbied in the nation’s capital for the 2010 passage of the Zadroga Act, often along with the firm's clients—other 9/11 responders and survivors.

Zadroga benefits are crucial to a number of responders and survivors. The Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) provides compensation while the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, which serves 70,000 responders and survivors, provides medical treatment and monitoring.

Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman notes that, some 9/11-related conditions, including cancer, may not manifest for many years. “Some responders and survivors may not develop symptoms for years to come. The Zadroga Act must remain open so these individuals are able to get the help they need when they need that help.”

The group is fighting to ensure that all Congressional members understand that the deaths and illnesses that occurred on September 11, 2001 did not end that day. Deaths and illnesses tied to the toxic cloud of dangerous chemicals, carcinogens, asbestos, pulverized cement, and jet fuel, continue. The cloud spread throughout lower Manhattan and the site remained smoldering for months. While responders worked on cleanup efforts and people—residents, workers, students, including children—returned to the site, the Federal Government continued to assure the nation that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe, notes Citizens for the Extension of the Zadroga Act.

Not just advocates and surviving family were lobbying yesterday, but so are many ill responders and survivors who are forced to fight for benefits many believe they deserve, notes Parker Waichman.

Retired New York City firefighter Ray Pfeifer, who worked on the Ground Zero cleanup, has been suffering with advanced kidney cancer since 2009. “I am the luckiest Stage 4 cancer guy out there,” he told CBS, according to a September 14, 2015 report. “I can’t complain. I have 14 more years than my friends did.” Discussing the Zadroga Act’s upcoming expiration, Mr. Pfieifer said, “It would be a big struggle… People are going to die if we don’t have this bill passed.” Representative Carolyn Maloney added, “Just now, people are coming out with cancers… Many have been diagnosed. Many are being monitored.” Representative Peter King (Republican- Nassau County) noted, “Just like you can’t leave soldiers in the battlefield, we can’t leave these civilians behind.” Richard Alles, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) legislative director pointed out that, if the law is not renewed, we should expect to see health care begin to phase out next month and to be completely eliminated October 2016.

As part of Parker Waichman’s ongoing dedication to fighting for the rights of responders and survivors, the firm was involved in the recently implemented “Take Action” tool that allows responders, survivors, and advocates the ability to review any Congressperson’s activities concerning the upcoming expiration of the James Zadroga Act. Parker Waichman assisted with the research on, and creation of, the Tool, which may be accessed at the Renew 911 Health Organization's website. Every American is encouraged to visit the tool and contact those members of Congress who have not committed to join in passage of the Zadroga Act permanent extension and thank those who have.

Parker Waichman remains committed to fighting alongside Ground Zero first responders, survivors, and advocates, to urge passage of Zadroga Act extensions and amendments, and vows to continue efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure Zadroga Act compensation is available. To determine eligibility for compensation under the Act, or for assistance with a claim, please visit Parker Waichman's website or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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