Congress to Provide for 9/11 First Responders!

Dear Commons Community,

Fourteen years after terrorists hijacked planes to strike the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, lawmakers on Capitol Hill finalized a deal this week to provide permanent health care for the thousands of Americans who are now sick and dying because they came forward to help that day.  As reported in The Huffington Post:

“After remarkably difficult negotiations that prompted critics to create a #WorstResponders hashtag for Congress, legislators finally agreed to an $8.1 billion reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and attached it to the massive omnibus spending bill that will have to pass in order to fund the government.

 “This agreement is incredible news for our 9/11 heroes and their families, and it is a testament to the extraordinary power that Americans can have when they raise their voice and demand action,“ said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

About $3.5 billion will be designated for the World Trade Center Health Program, guaranteeing that more than 72,000 known responders and survivors will always have access to treatment, including more than 33,000 who already have 9/11-linked illnesses. The program will last 75 years, until 2090.

Another $4.6 billion will go to extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Program for five more years, and fill an approximately 50 percent funding shortfall in the original program passed in 2010.

“Now those who rushed to the towers will know that if they get sick because of their bravery, the federal government will be there for them the way they were there for us,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday. “It took too long, but Congress finally rose to its responsibility to help our heroes.” 

This is long overdue good news for those who gave selflessly of themselves on 9/11.



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