New York, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) released the following statement today to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act. On December 22nd of last year, Congress finally fulfilled its undeniable moral obligation to provide long-overdue health care and compensation for 9-11 responders and community survivors who became ill in the aftermath of the attacks on 9-11.
“I was humbled to stand with our 9-11 heroes, survivors and families – day after day, week after week, month after month, for almost two years, working together to ensure that Congress fulfilled its undeniable moral obligation to provide the health care our heroes so desperately need.
“One year ago today, working hand-in-hand with Senator Schumer, Congresswoman Maloney, Congressman Nadler, Congressman King, and the New York Congressional delegation, we obtained our ‘Christmas Miracle’ by passing the James Zadroga Act. Together, we proved that America is a country that honors her heroes, remembers their sacrifice, and is there for them in their greatest hour of need.
“But our work is not done. We will continue to ensure this program meets the needs of our heroes. And Congress must continue to stand by our first responders by implementing a key recommendation of the 9-11 Commission Report. 10 years after 9-11, it is baffling that Congress has yet to provide our first responders with the communications tools needed to communicate across all levels of government and between various regional agencies during an emergency response situation.
“The status quo is unacceptable. We must ensure that all of our firefighters, officers, and first responders across the nation can effectively communicate with each other in real time during a national crisis. We cannot wait another day, and we certainly cannot wait for another emergency to act. And we should do it now so our heroes have the best technology available when duty calls.
“When Congress returns to session in January, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure we pass the bipartisan Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act that will save lives while reducing the deficit by $6.5 billion.”
Senator Gillibrand has been a leading advocate for creating a national broadband wireless communications system for first responders, which would fulfill a key outstanding recommendation of the 9-11 Commission Report.