WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With many 9/11 responders and survivors still suffering from health problems, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) says Congress needs to step up.
“We made a promise to all the 9/11 responders, survivors, and families, that we would take care of them,” Gillibrand said.
In 2011, Congress established the World Trade Center Health Program to pay for needed medical care, but Gillibrand says the original funding, “will not keep pace with the anticipated cost.”
More than 100,000 people depend on the program to treat their 9/11-related health problems. Gillibrand wants Congress to close the funding gap.
“This legislation would deliver $3 billion in supplemental funding making sure the program has the resources it needs,” she said.
9/11 activist John Feal is begging Congress to act quickly.
“The 9/11 community over the last 20 years has been decimated and this program gives us a fighting chance,” Feal said.
The bill is receiving some bipartisan support, with Republicans agreeing that helping 9/11 survivors is a top priority.
“We need to be there for them,” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) said.
Kelly believes adding funding is the right thing to do.
“I don’t even think it’s worth even debating. We take care of our fellow man and in this case we take care of those heroes who ran toward the emergency that day,” Kelly said.
Kelly says he would support a standalone bill, but would need more information if it’s part of a larger package.