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Quijano Calls on Congressional Leaders to Renew Zadroga Act

Assemblywoman Says Protecting First Responders of the World Trade Center Attacks with Zadroga Act Should Remain a Priority for the Country

(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrat Annette Quijano on Wednesday urged Congress to approve the reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, which provides treatment of First Responders who have health problems resulting for their service at the World Trade Center.

“We have lost nearly 3,000 Americans as a result of the 9/11 attacks including first responders who suffered from illnesses attributed to their work at the World Trade Center,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Debating the impact, worthiness and funding of the programs under the Zadroga Act when many first responders have been helped is nonsensical and inhumane. The Zadroga Act should be passed immediately.”

Quijano said respiratory illnesses and related cancers are very common among first responders who participated in the World Trade Center Efforts. According to an annual report issued by the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, one of two programs funded by the Zadroga Act, more than 20,000 people submitted claims this year, which is nearly 4,000 more than received in 2014. The report issued this month states that first responders account for 91 percent of the total amount awarded this year; and individuals with cancer diagnoses account for 18 percent.

“New Jersey’s federal lawmakers are in support of the reauthorization of the Zadroga Act,” Quijano continued. “Yet, other congressional leaders are dragging their feet on the issue. It’s time to vote and stand up for people who should truly matter, the first responders we count on in times of crisis in this country.

“This is not just about the first responders from New Jersey or New York,” Quijano added. “First responders from all over the country placed their lives on the line to help clear debris and search for survivors. This selfless act of bravery we can never truly repay unless we continue to ensure these individuals unwavering and unconditional support in their time of need.”

James Zadroga was a New York City Police officer who died of a respiratory disease attributed to his participation in rescue operations during the September 11 attacks. The Zadroga Act passed Congress in 2010 and is set to expire on Thursday, October 8.