Local leaders rally in Washington D.C. to spearhead call for more funding in World Trade Center Health Program
Both Democrat and Republican local leaders were in our nation's capital Tuesday, joining forces to support a bipartisan call for more funding of the World Trade Center Health Program.
“The program faces a looming crisis,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer. “We know the World Trade Center program still needs at least $2 billion to avoid the same drastic consequences before 2028.”
For survivors of 9/11 like Kenny George, the funding for his medication comes from the health program.
“I’m on 32 medications. 32. So they’re taking care of a lot of it,” said George. “No way I would be able to do it without the trade center’s help.”
George spent over 700 hours in search-and-rescue efforts at Ground Zero, followed by 68 trips to Washington D.C. to support and encourage the passing of the Zadroga Act. Without the program, George says he would be spending over $2,000 a month on medication.
Jennifer MacNamara’s husband was a firefighter in Brooklyn for 10 years. He spent over 500 hours at Ground Zero and lost his life to 9/11-related cancer five years after.
"Time and time again, these guys have to go down there, guys who are sick, and they have to drag themselves down before congress to basically beg for funding for this bill,” said MacNamara. "Everybody wants to go on with their lives, everybody wants to be done with it, but some of us can't forget."
In December 2022, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer were able to allocate an additional $1 billion into the program to cover its costs until 2028. But without the proposed $2 billion in future funding, the program’s long-term outlook remains uncertain.
Although 2028 may seem far to some, Schumer says this looming threat does not feel distant for the first responders and survivors who rely on this program.