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Monday, March 8th, 2021

New York lawmakers thwart effort to shift 9/11 health program for first responders

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Four New York lawmakers led an effort to defeat a proposal to separate the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides treatment services for first responders and survivors with 9/11-related health conditions, from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, according to a June 27 article in Newsday.

The Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney had proposed to have the program, which provides free health care to 9/11 first responders, overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. Reps. Pete King (R-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) led the effort to scuttle the proposal. The House Appropriations Committee released a report Tuesday that offered no changes to the 9/11 Healthcare Program.

King credited the “across-the-aisle coalition” and cited the support of former Daily Show host Jon Stewart in the interview with Newsday. Stewart traveled to Capitol Hill earlier this year to oppose Mulvaney’s proposal. More than 83,000 first responders on 9/11 have used the program.

King was concerned that the CDC might not have the expertise or institutional knowledge to address their complex health problems.

King, Maloney and Nadler originally co-sponsored the bill, called the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which created the health program. The program was placed with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health because the institute’s doctors and researchers were best able to address the illnesses of first responders, King explained.