Parker Waichman, Jon Stewart, Others, To Lobby for Zadroga Act Extension

9/11 survivors, responders, and advocates will join in the lobbying event urging Congress to permanently extend the Zadroga Act’s programs, which begin expiring this year.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten, comments that renewing the Zadroga Act is crucial for many responders and survivors suffering from 9/11-related conditions, such as chronic respiratory conditions and cancers. The firm notes that recently retired “The Daily Show” host, Jon Stewart, will be lobbying Congress in Washington DC for the permanent extension of the 9/11 Zadroga Health and Compensation Act that is set to begin expiring this October, according to a September 8, 2015 The Huffington Post report. The firm announces that it will also be present at the lobbying event.

At least 100 first responders and survivors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will be joining Mr. Stewart at the September 16, 2015 event that will take place at the Capitol and is meant to urge lawmakers to approve the Act’s permanent extension, according to lobby organizers and the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat-New York), according to The Huffington Post. Mr. Stewart was actively involved in seeing passage of the original Act in 2010. In fact, the last “The Daily Show” of 2010 on December 16 was dedicated to push lawmakers to vote for the Act’s passage. The Zadroga Act passed one week later on the last day of Congress.

“Jon Stewart and our first responders shouldn’t have to be in Washington walking the halls of Congress to keep the health care program running that our heroes need and deserve,” said Gillibrand in a statement provided to The Huffington Post. “Congress should do the right thing and treat our 9/11 heroes who answered the call of duty with the same dignity and respect as our veterans.” The Huffington Post writes that, according to sources familiar with the planning, Mr. Stewart will directly walk the halls of Congress making personal appeals to members of Congress to help ensure the Zadroga Act is renewed. The Act begins its phase-out in October 2015 with complete expiration early October 2016.

Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman, who will be attending the lobbying effort notes that, “These individuals answered the call for help at a time when their country needed them most.” Mr. McCauley also lobbied in the nation’s capital for the 2010 passage of the Zadroga act, often along with the firm’s clients—other responders and survivors. “They and their families deserve these benefits and, because of this, the firm continues to urge Congress to reauthorize the Act.” Mr. McCauley notes that, as the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, so, too, do the expiration dates for the Act’s two programs.

The Zadroga Act provides benefits for 9/11 responders and survivors through the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, which supplies medical treatment and monitoring, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which affords compensation. “If the Zadroga Act is not reauthorized, a number of 9/11 heroes will be left without the benefits they need and deserve,” said Mr. McCauley. In April 2015, a bipartisan group of Senators and House of Representative members introduced legislation in both chambers for permanent extension of the Zadroga Act programs: HR. 1786/S. 928.

Meanwhile, the Zadroga Bill passed nine years following the terrorist attacks after Congress could no longer ignore the mounting, significant, and sometimes fatal, problems Americans exposed to the toxic cloud in Manhattan faced. The funding for the $1.6 billion efforts ends this October and there is enough funding left for just about one more year. After that, the more than 72,000 responders and survivors who span the nation and who are enrolled in the Zadroga programs may be faced with no alternatives and life-altering illnesses—many of which are taking years and years to manifest. The $2.75 billion VCF took a nearly $90 million hit due to sequestration budget cuts, according to The Huffington Post report.

John Feal, founder of the 9/11 advocacy group the FealGood Foundation told The Huffington Post, “I have no role models, no heroes, but Jon Stewart comes as close as possible to that…. Now we’re asking for Jon to pitch the eighth and ninth innings.” Feal points out that, since the attacks, some 1,300 additional people have died due to cancers and lung problems. It is because of the often slow-progressing deadly diseases associated with the 9/11 attacks that advocates are urging Congress to pass a bill that extends well beyond the five years seen with the current Act. “We’re asking for a permanent bill, but lets not kid ourselves,” Feal said. “There’s nothing permanent about 9/11 responders. We’re all going to die off.”

“Some responders and survivors may not even be aware that they are suffering from a condition due to 9/11,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman. “Unless the Zadroga Act is extended, these individuals will lose access to critical medical care, monitoring, and compensation.”

Parker Waichman continues to remain dedicated to fighting for the rights of responders and survivors. In fact, the firm was recently involved in the “Take Action” tool that allows responders, survivors, and advocates the ability to review any Congressperson’s activities concerning the upcoming expiration of the James Zadroga Act. Parker Waichman assisted with the research on, and creation of, the Tool, which may be accessed at the Renew 911 Health Organization’s website.

Parker Waichman remains committed to fighting alongside Ground Zero first responders, survivors, and advocates, to urge passage of Zadroga Act extensions and amendments, and vows to continue efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure Zadroga Act compensation is available. To determine eligibility for compensation under the Act, or for assistance with a claim, please visit Parker Waichman’s website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Release ID: 90989