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9/11 Health Watch Honors Congressional Sponsors of Law Providing Aid to World Trade Center Responders & Survivors

October 21, 2016

Below is the press release issued by 911 Health Watch about our event on Tuesday night honoring U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King – the five original cosponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, as well as Sheila Birnbaum former Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund that was reopend by the legislation.

9/11 Health Watch Honors Congressional Sponsors of Law Providing Aid to World Trade Center Responders & Survivors

New York, NY – Today at its annual dinner, 9/11 Health Watch honored U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King – the five original cosponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. This legislation renewed and made permanent federal health care and compensation programs for 9/11 first responders and survivors of the attacks.

911 Health Watch also honored Sheila Birnbaum former Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund that was reopend by the legislation.

“The five leaders we’re honoring tonight are a powerful rejoinder to those who believe goverement can’t make a difference in people’s lives. Indeed, without the leadership of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and Representatives Maloney, Nadler, and King, many heroes and survivors of the 9/11 attacks would not be alive today,” said Suzy Ballantyne a member of 9/11 Health Watch’s Board of Directors. “9/11 Health Watch will continue to support federal 9/11 aid programs and advocate for everyone affected by the attacks. We’re dedicated to making sure our goverment delivers on its long term commitment to the health and well-being of 9/11 first responders, survivors, and their families. ”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, who introduced Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) at the event, said, “We could not have had a stronger partner in this fight than Chuck Schumer. He led the way on the 9/11 Zadroga Health bill. It is a result of his leadership, dedication and perseverance that the 9/11 responders and survivors, including many members of organized labor, who still suffer as a result of their heroic actions will receive the care and support they deserve. Senator Schumer kept his promise and delivered this victory that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of brave men and women and their families.”

James Slevin, 911 Health Board Member, President Uniformed Firefighters Association and 1st District VP of the International Association of Firefighters, who introduced Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) said, “ Senator Gillibrand was relentless in leading the effort in the Senate on behalf of the thousands of injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors not only in New York but across the nation. Her tireless work was instrumental in getting Congress to act and do the right thing.”

9/11 Health Watch Boad Member, Richard Alles talked about Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) the lead sponsor of the legislation in the House of Represenatives,who could not attend the event. ”I know personally how hard Carolyn worked to move this bill because I saw it first hand. The press conferences in all kinds of weather, the lobbying, the tireless efforts on behalf of those injured and made ill by the toxins at Ground Zero. It was an incredible effort and on behalf of my fellow responders I want to thank her.”

Lee Clarke, 911 Health Watch Board Member and Assistant to the President of Local 1549, District Council 37, AFSCME introduced Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and remarked, “ Jerry was indefatigable advocating for the lower Manhattan community which had been thru so much in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack. He made sure that Washington understood the health issues facing responders, area workers, residents and area students.”

Dr. James Melius, 911 Health Board Member and Administrator, NYS Laborers Health and Safety Trust introduced Congressman Peter King (R-NY) and said,” Congressman King was a leader of the bipartisan effort to pass the legislation. He was tenacious in working to overcome the resistance to the legislation and explaining to his colleague’s from around the country why the legislation needed to get passed to ensure that 9/11 responders and survivors continued to receive the health care and compensation that they needed and deserved.”

Richard Alles introduced Sheila Birnbaum, the former Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. “I think everyone has been impressed and grateful for Sheila Birnbaum volunteering her time over the last five years, to make sure that those injured by 9/11 finally get the help they need and have been waiting for. She is worked tirelessly and in the last few months we have seen the results of her efforts, as thousands of responders and survivors got the help they needed. She is a great New Yorker and we all want to say thank you.”

Suzy Ballantyne introduced Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Elizabeth de Leon Bhargava, NYS Deputy Secretary for Labor in the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who were at the dinner. “I want to make sure that everyone knows the efforts that Borough President Brewer has made to have built at Ground Zero a monument to the thousands of injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors so that the country will not forget the impact this has had on so many in the aftermath of the attack and to thank Governor Cuomo for taking up this effort and committing to make it happen.”

9/11 Health Watch makes sure the government keeps its promises to everyone harmed by the 9/11 attacks. The organization monitors 9/11 health care and compensation programs to make sure everyone who’s injured or sick because of 9/11 gets the help they need and deserve.

9/11 Health Watch was created — along with its advocacy sister organization, Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act — by unions and groups that fought hard to get the Zadroga law passed.

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