Pa. Members of Congress Must Come to the Rescue of Ground Zero Workers

Editorial NY Daily News

They did their duty and paid an awful price.

Years after the fires at Ground Zero stopped smoldering, the rescue and recovery workers who breathed in the toxins there fell ill by the thousands.

Then, belatedly, Congress did its duty. It wasn’t until 201 1 that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, to provide medical care and financial support for those who answered the call, became law.

The program runs out at the end of 2016 and must be renewed for another five years.

Every member of the House and Senate from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut has signed on. But the suffering is national.

There are 1,044 Pennsylvanians registered in the program. On Wednesday, two of these heroes will be on Capitol Hill, asking their slumbering lawmakers to wake up.

Scott Chernoff, a retired NYPD cop now living in Bethlehem, Pa., was at the WTC and suffers from reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease and sleep apnea. His treatment is covered by the Zadroga fund.

Laura DiPasqua-Grappy of Erie, Pa. , spent five weeks at Ground Zero for the American Red Cross. She has since been diagnosed with aerodigestive cancer and has undergone five wrenching surgeries. She still has a tumor on her epiglottis. All of her costly treatment is paid for by the Zadroga fund.

Just two of Pennsylvania’s federal legislators are onboard: Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

The rest must join in. That includes DiPasqua-Grappy’s congressman, Mike Kelly, and Chernoff’s, Charles Dent.

In the Senate, Pat Toomey should join fellow Republicans from places with far fewer victims, like Alaska (Sen. Lisa Murkowski), Nevada (Rep. Joe Heck) and Arkansas (Sen. Tom Cotton).

Duty calls again.

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