Fire/emergency medical services Legislation

Congress reauthorizes World Trade Center Health Program

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wtc-9.11

Photo: The World Trade Center Health Program

Washington – Congress has reauthorized funding for the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides care and medical coverage to workers who responded during the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The reauthorization was included in an omnibus appropriations bill that passed Congress Dec. 18, making the program permanent.

The bill that created the program, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, expired in October, and benefits for about 70,000 people were expected to run out soon if the act was not reauthorized.

Some stakeholders decried the lack of action in the lead-up to the expiration of the act as “shameful,” and many first responders descended on Capitol Hill to encourage renewal of the program.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who has long fought for the WTC Health Program, hailed the reauthorization’s passage.

“Never again will survivors and responders be forced to walk the halls of Congress, begging for their health care,” she said in a press release. “Congress has taken bipartisan action to do right by the heroes of 9/11.”