Zadroga Reauthorization Bill Gains Republican Support

Senator Marco Rubio is now co-sponsoring the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which seeks to permanently renew benefits for 9/11 responders and survivors. Congressman Peter King also commented that House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans have agreed to back the legislation.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the first responders and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten, comments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act is gaining significant support from Republican lawmakers. According to the NY Daily News, Republican Presidential Candidate Senator Marco Rubio is co-sponsoring the Act. “Programs designed to meet the unique health needs of those Americans should be renewed, and those who rely on them should not face uncertainty and continued anxiety over their future,” Senator Rubio said in a statement, according to the NY Daily News. “Congress must keep faith with the heroes and victims of 9/11, while also making sure our federal government is living within its means and protecting taxpayers. As we continue working on this issue, I hope we can improve this legislation or reach an agreement that meets both these goals.”

Senator Rubio is the first leading Republican presidential candidate to support permanent reauthorization of the Zadroga Bill; he is the 66th Senator to co-sponsor the bill. The NY Daily News also reports that the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) supports Zadroga reauthorization. On November 17, 2015, the group gathered alongside over one-dozen lawmakers to announce their support. Military veterans Representative Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat-Hawaii) and Mark Kirk (Republican-Illinois) were also in attendance and endorsed the bill. According to the firm, Representative Steve Knight also recently pledged his support.

Republican support for the bill is also stemming from other areas of Congress, Newsday reports. Representative Peter King announced that Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed to support permanent reauthorization. The announcement is a sign of progress, although King stated that, “there is still a long way to go” since this is only one out of four key committees needed to pass the legislation. There are 250 co-sponsors in the House and 66 in the Senate. The NY Daily News reports that this is enough for the bill to pass, but there is not enough support from the majority of Republicans. The Energy and Commerce Committee supervises the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, one of the two programs offered by the Zadroga Act.

Parker Waichman comments that many responders and survivors suffer from 9/11-related conditions, such as cancer and respiratory conditions, due to toxic exposure experienced at the Ground Zero location following the terrorist attacks. The Zadroga Act provides medical treatment and monitoring through the WTC Health Program, which treats over 33,000 people and monitors an additional 70,000. The program was allowed to expire on September 30, 2015 and is relying on cash reserves until next year. When the Zadroga Act was signed into law in early 2011, it also reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides compensation. The VCF is slated to expire next fall unless Congress renews the Zadroga bill.

“This growing support is a step in the right direction,” said Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman. “But Congress must take swifter action for the sake of our 9/11 responders and survivors.” Mr. McCauley added, “These heroes sacrificed their health and well being when their country needed them most. Now, they need our help. They should not have to beg for benefits, and renewal of the Zadroga Act should not even be something that is up for debate.”

Parker Waichman actively worked toward the 2010 passage of the Zadroga Act, including taking part in lobbying efforts and trips to the nation’s capital, often along with the firm’s clients—other responders and survivors. Parker Waichman continues today to fight for permanent extension of the Act, taking part in numerous lobbying efforts and being part of delegations fighting for this cause. In fact, Mr. McCauley attended the November 17, 2015 event.

The firm remains dedicated to fighting for the rights of responders and survivors and Parker Waichman assisted with the research on, and creation of, the “Take Acton” tool that enables citizens to review Congress members’ activities concerning the Act. The tool may be accessed at the Renew 911 Health Organization’s website.

The firm fights alongside Ground Zero first responders, survivors, and advocates, to help ensure passage of Zadroga Act amendments, and vows to continue efforts to safeguard 9/11 heroes and survivors and ensure that all deserved Zadroga Act compensation is received. 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: 97519