***Watch Gillibrand on Face the Nation Here***
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand appeared on Face the Nation Sunday urging the permanent renewal of the Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Programs. Gillibrand told Face the Nation that allowing these programs to expire is an “outrage” and renewing them is “America’s moral obligation.” Watch Gillibrand’s interview on Face the Nation here.
Excerpt from Face the Nation interview:
John Dickerson: Let me talk to you about an issue that you’ve been working so hard on which is getting funding for 9-11 first responders. What’s the state of the legislation and funding for those who rushed in after the attack?
Senator Gillibrand: Well, it’s expired. I think it’s a moral outrage that we are not standing by our first responders. These are the men and women who literally raced up the towers when everyone else was coming down and did the awful and hard work of first looking for survivors, and then looking for remains. If you remember days after 9-11, the toxins were streaming out of the site, and they were breathing in these toxins for weeks and months. Unfortunately, these men are now dying. More police officers have died since 9-11 than on 9-11. Over 200 first responders have died since 9-11 from these diseases.
John Dickerson: The holdup appears to be the in House. Chairman Goodlatte of the Judiciary Committee and others have said they don’t want to do entitlement. They want to do same funding levels, same program, add in some other victims of other terrorist attacks, and make it be for five years so that there’s constant oversight. What’s your response?
Senator Gillibrand: It’s actually worse than that. They’ve decided arbitrarily to have a five year bill, and the amount of money they’re spending doesn’t even cover the diseases that these members of our first responders have. They want to say, “We will treat some of your cancer, but not all of your cancer.” These diseases don’t expire, so the healthcare provided should not expire. They are creating an arbitrary framework that doesn’t even compensate people who are eligible for compensation today….. This is America’s moral obligation. This is who we are as a nation. To cut these members, short change them by only covering some of the treatments and not all of the treatments, I think that’s outrageous.
Created in 2010, the World Trade Center Health Program provides treatment and medical care to 33,000 first responders and survivors suffering from at least one 9-11-related illness or injury. More than 72,000 first responders and survivors receive medical monitoring to screen for cancers and other diseases observed in the 9-11 population. Participants in the World Trade Center Health Program live in all 50 states, and in 433 of the 435 Congressional Districts. The program expired on September 30th, putting these critical services in jeopardy.
Another program established as a part of the Zadroga Act, the Victims Compensation Fund, will expire in October 2016 if Congress does not act. The Fund provides financial aid to responders, survivors, and families who have suffered economic losses as a result of 9-11-related injuries.