Today the IAVA Legislative Team learned that the Zadroga bill to extend healthcare program for 9/11 First Responders picked up a new cosponsor, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC).
Unfortunately, we also learned that the first legislative vehicle to possibly carry the Zadroga bill, the transportation reauthorization bill, will not be able to carry the bill. Although we understand there was agreement on moving forward by House leadership, the Senate was not in agreement.
We have met with Senate Veterans Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and House Veterans Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) as their leadership on this issue will be important for more junior members.
The next opportunity for success is to include the extension in the omnibus measure to fund the federal agencies for the rest of Fiscal Year 2016, which must be passed by December 11.
To this end the IAVA Team continues to meet with House and Senate offices to encourage support, with meetings today with the offices of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a strong supporter already, and Reps. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Mark Walker (R-NC), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA). Staff were sympathetic and will be discussing the measure with their bosses.
IAVA will also be participating in a press conference to be held by bill sponsors and others on December 3rd in Washington, DC to continue the pressure for passage.
We’ll include more developments as they occur.
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.