Maloney statement on inclusion of Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation bill in must-pass omnibus spending bill

On December 16, 2015, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney released the following statement on the inclusion of a provision to extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in the must-pass omnibus spending bill that will be considered by Congress this week:

“Fourteen years ago I became concerned about the health effects of exposure to toxins at Ground Zero. Eleven years ago I introduced the first 9/11 health bill. Five years ago we got it passed. This week we will make it permanent.

“This evening we learned that an extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act will be included in the omnibus spending package Congress must pass before it adjourns this year.

“It’s in writing. The deal is done. Now Congress needs to vote. This is a major bipartisan victory for the survivors and responders who were counting on us to get this done.

“Never again will survivors and responders be forced to walk the halls of Congress, begging for their health care. Never again will they lose sleep over fear that this life-saving program will run out. No longer will those who have been out of work due to their illnesses have to fear that their promised compensation will be slashed by more than half.

“We will never fully repay the sacrifices our first responders made following September 11th. All they ask of us is that we never forget– and Congress is now sending a clear message back: we haven’t.

“We did it thanks to the hard work of countless 9/11 responders and survivors who made repeated trips and shared their heartbreaking stories.

“This is not just a victory for New York. It is a victory for America. It demonstrates our highest values and shows the world that when we are attacked, we take care of our own.”

BACKGROUND:

Summary of the Final James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization that was included in the Omnibus

World Trade Center Health Program Section (score $3.5 billion):

Extends the Health Program to 2090 with only minor revisions:

  • Adds a requirement that the Administrator provide for an independent peer review of the scientific and technical evidence prior to adding a condition to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions.
  • Changes the deadline for the Administrator to act on petitions to add health conditions to within 90 days.
  • Sets yearly caps for funding for the health program for the first 10 years and then ties future increases to the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers.
  • Allows any unexpended funding in each year to be available for use in future years.
  • Requires a GAO report every 5 years to ensure program integrity.
  • Other technical changes
Victim Compensation Fund Section (score $4.6 billion)

Extends the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for an additional 5 years and adds an additional $4.6 billion to pay claims.

Revisions:

  • All applicants that received an award determination letter before the day of enactment will receive the full amount of their award.
  • The following caps and limits will apply to any applicant that has not received an award letter by the day of enactment:
  • Codification of the legal definition for the exposure area – the area will be the same as that used by the current VCF program but would take an act of Congress to expand the area in the future.
  • Non-economic loss awards for cancer claims capped at $250,000.
  • Non-economic loss awards for non-cancer claims capped at $90,000.
  • The yearly salary maximum for the calculation of economic awards capped at $200,000/year.
  • Minimum payments will no longer be provided.
  • The Special Master is required to re-evaluate the policies once a year to ensure that spending and award determinations prioritize those suffering from the most debilitating conditions.
  • Other technical changes.

This statement can also be found online here.

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