With pledges from House and Senate leaders to include the Zadroga Act in the $1.1 trillion FY2016 omnibus funding legislation to keep the government running, a handful of final issues on the broader bill are still being discussed at the leadership level. The bill text had been expected to be released today, but Tuesday now seems more likely.
Because the current funding expires this Wednesday, it is near certain that Congress will have to pass another short term continuing resolution to buy enough time to pass a final agreement through both chambers. Congress is scheduled to adjourn Friday and return in January, but this latest development may push their schedule to the right a bit more.
The Zadroga Act’s hopes have been buoyed in recent days as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told POLITICO last Friday the measure would be included in the funding bill following an avalanche of criticism for not acting sooner. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had signaled his support last month and pledged inclusion in the funding bill last Thursday.
Comedian Jon Stewart has been a strong Zadroga ally in his withering critique of Congressional inaction, making appearances at a Capitol Hill press conference and in House and Senate offices this month, and on TV, including the Tonight Show last Friday and on the Daily Show before that.
IAVA has continued to press Capitol Hill for support, including with another blast of emails to all Congressional offices Friday. Since those emails, Reps. John Kline (R-MN) and Curt Clawson (R-FL) became cosponsors, which now total 272.
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.