Rep. Dan Donovan: 5-year Zadroga extension isn't enough
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- While Rep. Daniel Donovan, Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing for Congress to pass a permanent extensionof the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a new House bill can been drafted to extend the program only five years.
After Congress members left Washington on Thursday to spend the weekend in their home districts, a new bill was filed with the House clerk's office to extend the health and compensation act for five years, something that Donovan (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) is vehemently opposed to.
The bill was introduced in the House Judiciary Committee "without consultation with those of us" who have been pushing for a permanent bill, Donovan said Friday.
Donovan and other supporters of a permanent program argue that first responders and others living with diseases incurred from lower Manhattan should know they will be taken care of for the rest of their lives.
"There's got to be some certainty ... that if, God forbid something happens to them, the resources will be there for them," Donovan said.
That goes both for people diagnosed and being treated and those who have yet to be diagnosed.
"We owe it to our first responders," he said. "This was an act of war on our country."
There is enough support in both houses of Congress for passing a permanent bill and Donovan said when lawmakers return on Monday, they will get to work planning it.
"Anything short of a permanent extension is not what these workers deserve," Donovan said.