Smith praises Committee action and calls for swift House passage9/11 Heath Compensation Reauthorization Bill Takes Key Step in Congress
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), an early and vocal supporter of the original James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (now PL 111-347), announced today that the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing tomorrow on reauthorizing this important program.
Smith is a co-sponsor of the bipartisan James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act (HR 1786) to permanently extend health coverage for those first responders in New Jersey and around the country who suffer from illnesses as a result of their rescue efforts after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Having worked for passage of the original law enacted in 2011, Smith is pleased to support the reauthorization alongside sponsors Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Peter King.
“By creating the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, we made a commitment to the first responders and others who developed cancer and serious illnesses after breathing in toxic dust when the towers fell,” said Smith. “I applaud the Committee for making the reauthorization of the comprehensive plan that provides first responders with the medical care they need a priority.”
HR 1786 would allocate important resources to support programs helping those injured by the September 11th attacks and their families. Specifically, this bipartisan legislation would extend the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, WTC Health Registry, and remove the cap on payments while continuing the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) until 2041. In addition the VCF and WTC Health Program Fund would be except from automatic budget cuts or sequestration.
Testifying at the hearing tomorrow are the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Medical Director of Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute and two retired members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
“Enactment of this legislation will ensure we continue to honor and remember the victims of September 11th, their families, and the brave men and women who participated in the rescue, recovery and clean-up of Ground Zero,” Smith said. “The Subcommittee hearing tomorrow is the first step in this process.”
This law was named after James Zadroga a New Jersey native and NYPD officer who responded to ground zero for rescue and recovery efforts following the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Zadroga passed away in 2006 at age 34, due to health complications he developed from these recovery efforts.