Proposed Bill Will Continue to Provide Aid to 9/11 Victims and Families for 25 Years

A bill to reauthorize aid for sickened survivors of the 9/11 attacks has been introduced by numerous bipartisan lawmakers, including New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, as well as Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.

The proposed bill would extend for 25 years the federal healthcare and financial compensation currently provided to victims of the attacks, and would continue funding the World Trade Center Health Program, which assists more than 30,000 individuals and monitors the health of twice that number. Also supported by the bill is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which has so far identified more than 7,000 9/11 responders and victims and their families owed reimbursement for funds lost as a result of physical injuries suffered that day and in its aftermath.

There was difficulty surrounding the bill’s initial passing, which took almost a decade to achieve, much to the dismay of many Democratic politicians. “It’s still impossible for me to understand why there’s any controversy around this issue,” Senator Murphy has said.

In supporting the bill’s continuance, Senator Schumer highlighted the sacrifice made by so many that day, stating, “We have a duty in Congress to remember and care for those first-responders that heroically rushed toward the site and prevented even more significant loss of life.”

The bill’s reauthorization is especially necessary for survivors whose illnesses have lengthy latency periods – such as asbestos-related cancers, including mesothelioma – and which may not yet have been diagnosed. Although the attacks occurred more than thirteen years ago and almost 3,000 cancer diagnoses have already been made, the health effects of some diseases have yet to present themselves.

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