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N.Y. Politicians Will Push to Extend 9/11 Care Act, but It’s a Tough Sell

September 8, 2014

N.Y. Politicians Will Push to Extend 9/11 Care Act, but It’s a Tough Sell

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Pete King (R-L.I.) on Monday will announce legislation to extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides treatment and compensation for sick 9/11 responders, until 2041. Supporters fear Republicans won’t be friendly to the extension.

AN OCT. 11, 2001 FILE POOL PHOTO.Firefighters are seen making their way over the ruins and through clouds of smoke at the World Trade Center in October of 2001. Many of the first responders and those who labored at the site in the months following the attacks suffer from a variety of respiratory ailments and other illnesses.

WASHINGTON — Ahead of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, New York lawmakers are launching what they say will be a tough fight to extend a law providing health care and compensation to first responders and others sickened by toxic air after 9/11.

Joined by Mayor de Blasio, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Pete King (R-L.I.) will announce at a Monday news conference legislation in both congressional chambers to extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

The act, passed in late 2010 after a long fight, authorizes programs providing medical treatment and compensation for sick 9/11 responders. The health program expires in October 2015, and the compensation program ends in October 2016.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for NYPD Officer James Zadroga (left), provides medical care and compensation for sick 9/11 responders and others.The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for NYPD Officer James Zadroga (left), provides medical care and compensation for sick 9/11 responders and others.

The expiration dates are the result of a 2010 legislative deal with Republicans that allowed passage of the bill by holding down its cost.

Advocates of the program now face a tough fight for its renewal with 30,000 9/11 responders, area residents and workers already receiving treatment for illness deemed related to the attack.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and other New York lawmakers on Monday will announce legislation in both chambers to extend the law until 2041 — a date that would likely be whittled down in negotiations.Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and other New York lawmakers on Monday will announce legislation in both chambers to extend the law until 2041 — a date that would likely be whittled down in negotiations.
“We want to start building momentum,” Maloney said in an interview Friday.

The bills propose extending the programs for a whopping 25 years, through 2041. That’s an opening bid expected to be whittled down in congressional negotiations.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, as House and Senate member introduced legislation to reverse the Supreme Court's recent birth control decision. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke) National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander, left, and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees, stand after President Barack Obama spoke about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Justice Department in Washington. Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing such records. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(From left) Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Pete King (R-L.I.) will join Gillibrand in announcing the bills to extend the program, but they’re facing a tough fight.

Common, chronic sicknesses that resulted from breathing toxic air around Ground Zero include asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease. More than 2,900 people were diagnosed with cancer caused or worsened by the aftermath of the attacks.

The sick include 800 current or past FDNY members and 550 NYPD members.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiThe lawmakers will be backed by Mayor de Blasio.

An additional 70 firefighters and 60 NYPD officers have already died of 9/11-linked illnesses.

“These brave men and women did not think twice before risking their lives in service to our nation,” Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Congress has a duty to continue to stand by them in the years ahead by providing the health care and compensation that our 9/11 heroes and their families need and deserve.”

Supporters of the legislation fear that if Republicans recapture control of the Senate and retain control of the House in November’s elections, their chances of extending the bill will be doomed.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/n-y-politicians-push-extend-9-11-care-act-article-1.1931570