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New York Officials Set Aside Partisanship to Protect Health Care for 9/11 Firefighters

February 4, 2021 | Michael Barasch

The toxic dust at Ground Zero after 9/11 affected every person who was exposed, regardless of age, race, religion, or politics.

Thankfully, bipartisan majorities in Congress, as well as Presidents of both major political parties, have supported 9/11 first responders and survivors who became sick as a result of their exposure to these toxins.

A recent controversy demonstrates the strength of that support, even during a contentious election campaign.

Earlier this year, a dispute between New York City and the federal government initially resulted in the Treasury Department withholding nearly $4 million from the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program.

This invaluable program provides comprehensive physical and mental health services to all active and retired FDNY members who responded to the 9/11 attacks, at no cost.

On learning of this dispute, New York State’s Congressional delegation – both Senators and all twenty-seven members of the House of Representatives – came forward to defend the program and call for the immediate restoration of funds.

These elected officials ignored political party labels to defend 9/11 first responders, ultimately succeeding when the missing funds were returned to the health program, as the New York Daily News celebrated in a recent editorial.

As we approach the end of a difficult year, we want to thank the elected officials who have yet again set politics aside to stand with the 9/11 community.

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