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Grassroots Action Delivers Results on Zadroga Bill Fight

F     ive new bill sponsors sign on to James Zadroga 9/11 Health Act

WASHINGTON (November 18, 2015) — Yesterday, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) announced their support for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act in a press conference on Capitol Hill with leading members of Congress. Directly following the conference, IAVA’s Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff and the policy team spent the afternoon meeting with Congressional leaders to gain support for the bill, which expired in October. Due to IAVA’s advocacy efforts, five new cosponsors were added to the bill: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Rep. Stephen Knight (R-Calif) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a post-9/11 veteran.

“We owe a tremendous debt to the thousands of first responders who put themselves in harm’s way at a moments notice following the 9/11 attacks,” said Rieckhoff. “At the very least it is our duty to assure that these heroes have the care and support that was promised to them. With the appalling attacks on Paris and Beirut still fresh in our minds, more than ever, our country needs to send a signal that it supports those who have answered the call to service.”

IAVA was asked to lead in the press conference along with other leading veteran service organizations as a way to demonstrate the national impact of the legislation. IAVA also launched a national grassroots campaign calling on IAVA veterans and supporters to contact their members of Congress, urging them to support this bill. In one day, 572 people have taken action in contacting their representatives.

The bipartisan legislation (S.928 / H.R.1786) to continue providing care and compensation to thousands of 9/11 survivors and first responders currently has 65 Senate cosponsors and 249 House cosponsors. It was introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer and Mark Kirk in the Senate, and Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King in the House. Sen. Rubio joins Sens. Bernie Sanders and Lindsay Graham as presidential candidates who are co-sponsors of the bill. Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have yet to sponsor the measure. A full list of sponsors can be found here.

The Zadroga Act would permanently extend the World Trade Center Health Program and September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The programs were created by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which passed in December 2010, and was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011.

The World Trade Center Health Program authorization expired at the end of September, and funding will run out by September 30, 2016. In the meantime, the program is in the process of shutting down, creating anxiety for those in treatment and problems for program administration, medical staff retention and continuity of care.

  • There are 72,297 Responders and Survivors who are living in every State and from 433 of 435 Congressional Districts.
  • There are over 33,000 Responders and Survivors that have at least one 9/11 condition and over two thirds have more than one condition and a large number of those suffer from multiple injuries and illnesses.
  • More than 4,166 Responders and Survivors have been certified to have a 9/11 related cancer, of which over 1,100 are New York City Firefighters and EMS personnel.
  • Over 94 New York Police Department officers and over 110 Firefighters have reportedly died of their 9/11 injuries and illnesses, with more are expected in the coming years.

For more information about IAVA’s efforts on this legislation, visit iava.org/zadroga.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.