October 2, 2015
By NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento
Albany, NY – The health and welfare of thousands of 9/11 heroes is in jeopardy as a deadline on 9/11 aid programs approaches. Authorization for these vital benefits runs out at midnight. We cannot allow members of Congress to turn their backs on the brave men and women who risked their own lives on that horrific day, and the men and women who were injured or became ill after being exposed to toxins at Ground Zero.
The World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund were established to care for the men and women injured or sickened as a result of the 9/11 attacks, as well as compensate those injured from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. Authorization for the World Trade Center Program ends at midnight September 30th. The program can continue to operate for up to one year with any remaining funds.
However, services to 9/11 responders and survivors will diminish without authorization as the program moves toward shutting down.Congress did the right thing in 2010 when it passed The Zadroga Act. Now, Congress has a moral obligation to continue to ensure care for these individuals and must act quickly to renew and extend critical health benefits. It is the right thing to do for 9/11 responders and survivors, including the many members of organized labor, who still suffer today as a result of their heroic actions.