Efforts to see the Zadroga Act enacted before the end of this year, and before funding runs out, continued over the weekend. This Sunday, Dec. 6, Members of Congress from New York, 9/11 First Responders and their supporters held a press conference at the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial site to call for passage of the Zadroga Act. The event followed two other well-attended Congressional press events on Capitol Hill at which IAVA called for action to extend the expired health programs for 9/11 First Responders.
The time to pass this bill is now. The omnibus spending bill, which will fund the federal government for the rest of Fiscal Year 2016, must be passed by this Friday, Dec. 11. The omnibus spending bill is widely viewed as the last legislative vehicle for the Zadroga Act to pass before Congress leaves town this December. The bill sponsors are optimistic that the bill will be included in the omnibus spending bill, but assurances from leadership confirming that optimism are still being sought. Toward this end, Members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee – which has jurisdiction over the bill – are discussing a way forward.
The Zadroga Act now has 261 House cosponsors and 67 in the Senate, from both sides of the aisle. Seventeen of those signed on after the press conferences began. IAVA also has contacted every Congressional office to voice support, and has personally met with House Veterans Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), Senate Veterans Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and many other offices. The two chairmen have not yet signaled their support.
IAVA is continuing to press to gain support for passage.