City Council Members Push to Extend Zadroga Act for 9/11 First Responders

Erin Durkin, NY Daily News

City Council members are joining the fight to extend the Zadroga Act for ailing 9/11 first responders. A resolution pushing for extension of the act, which funds health treatment and compensation for cops, firefighters, workers and area residents sickened after exposure to Ground Zero toxins, will be introduced Wednesday by Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan).

“More and more people are getting sick,” Joe Zadroga, the father James Zadroga, the first cop whose death was attributed to working at Ground Zero after 9/11, told the Daily News. “It’s a real hardship for people, day after day, for the medical bills,” he said. “The government should step forward again and fund this and make it right.”

The resolution is timed to coincide with the ninth anniversary of Zadroga’s death, on Jan. 5, 2006.

“Hundreds of NYPD and FDNY service members are still suffering from 9/11-related illnesses, along with thousands of 9/11 survivors and other first responders. It is absolutely vital for Congress to reauthorize the Zadroga Act so our nation can continue to provide for these brave men and women and their families,” said Chin, who represents Lower Manhattan.

“We must not leave them without the healthcare and compensation they so desperately need.”

Parts of the original $4.3 billion measure, passed in 2010, expire in October, and the rest of the bill expires next year.

Supporters had pushed for a longer-term bill, but settled for one that would expire after five years to gain Republican support in a fierce battle to get the law passed.

Some 30,000 people are believed to have been sickened by exposure to toxins from the ruins of the Twin Towers, with illnesses from asthma to fatal cancers.

John Feal of the FealGood foundation, a key Zadroga proponent, said the Council resolution would help build pressure to get Congress to act.

“These men and women deserve to get that healthcare for the rest of their lives because of the illnesses they contracted while doing their heroic work,” he said.

“The fight starts at the steps of City Hall and that fight’s going to end at the steps of the Capitol,” he said. “Get on board — and if you’re not, we’re going to make your lives miserable.”

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