Statement of New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on 9/11 Aid Programs

The health and welfare of thousands of 9/11 heroes is in jeopardy as a deadline on 9/11 aid programs approaches. Authorization for these vital benefits runs out at midnight. We cannot allow members of Congress to turn their backs on the brave men and women who risked their own lives on that horrific day, and the men and women who were injured or became ill after being exposed to toxins at Ground Zero.

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Congress did the right thing in 2010 when it passed The Zadroga Act. Now, Congress has a moral obligation to continue to ensure care for these individuals and must act quickly to renew and extend critical health benefits. It is the right thing to do for 9/11 responders and survivors, including the many members of organized labor, who still suffer today as a result of their heroic actions.

 Background: The World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund were established to care for the men and women injured or sickened as a result of the 9/11 attacks, as well as compensate those injured from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. Authorization for the World Trade Center Program ends at midnight. The program can continue to operate for up to one year with any remaining funds. However, services to 9/11 responders and survivors will diminish without authorization as the program moves toward shutting down.

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The New York State AFL-CIO is a federation of 3,000 affiliated public sector, private sector, and building trades unions throughout the state representing 2.5 million members, retirees and their families. Our State Federation, which is the largest and most diverse in the country, is committed to helping working families achieve a better life. For more information on the Labor Movement in New York, visit www.nysaflcio.org.

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