We’ve seen significant movement in the last 48 hours in the push for an extension of the Zadroga health program for 9/11 first responders.
Seven new cosponsors of the House bill were added, including six Republicans which the bill has been short on. The new sponsors are: Reps. Graves (R-MO), Cook (R-CA), Bucson (R-IN), Brooks (R-IN), Walters (R-CA), Becerra (D-CA) and LaHood (R-IL).
More significantly, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) yesterday told reporters that he supports extending the Zadroga health program by the end of the year, and that he has asked his committee chairmen to work with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) – a Zadroga sponsor – to reauthorize the program through regular order (through committee process). However, he did not indicate whether he supports a permanent or temporary, five-year extension.
Congressional staff also confirmed with IAVA that two legislative vehicles are candidates for Zadroga to be attached to – the Transportation Reauthorization and the FY16 omnibus that has to be approved early next month. The office also provided the latest CBO score, showing an $8-11 billion cost for the permanent extension: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/50982
Finally, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) this week indicated he would like to add provisions to the bill to cover other terror victims and responders, and has identified several billion dollars to help offset costs.
IAVA will continue to press for additional cosponsors, including among those we deal with most often – House and Senate Veterans’ Committee members and post-9/11 veteran members.
How you can help: IAVA has set up a “Take Action” web page, to be updated daily, for our veterans and supporters to ask their Members of Congress to support the bill. The page, iava.org/zadroga, lists all current cosponsors of the measure. If your representatives in DC aren’t yet on the bill, click here to email your members of Congress.