Today, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer and Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) called on Congress to pass the 9-11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act. The legislation would address the impending World Trade Center Health Program funding shortfall and ensure that the program can continue to provide medical treatment to over 100,000 9-11 first responders and survivors.
The WTCHP was established with bipartisan support in 2011 to provide care to responders survivors suffering from the effects of toxins at Ground Zero. Since Congress last reauthorized the program, rising medical inflation and increasing costs associated with providing care have created an anticipated funding shortfall, leaving the program without the resources needed to treat those who continue to suffer from the physical and mental impacts of 9-11.
“Before the smoke even cleared and the rubble was still on fire at Ground Zero, our brave first responders, construction workers and others risked life and limb in the epic rescue and recovery effort. Far too many have developed injuries and ailments, including cancer, from that work, and far, far too many have died. Fully funding the WTC Health Program and ensuring care to our Ground Zero heroes is a sacred obligation that, together, with the unions and advocates, we will fight to deliver,” said Senator Schumer.
“These heroes and survivors put themselves at great risk, doing whatever it took to help their fellow Americans in a moment of great need. Now, in their moment of need, we must be willing to do what it takes to help them,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Funding is at risk of running out in just a few short years. That is why we are working together to push for the 9-11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act to be included in the upcoming reconciliation package to address the shortfall now – before people lose access to the care and services they have earned and deserve.”
The bill would also authorize the WTCHP to develop a research cohort to study the psychological impact and toxic exposure of 9-11 on the more than 35,000 children who resided or attended school in the disaster area during and in the years following the attacks.