Text of Letter from Congressman Dan Donovan to All Members of the House of Representatives
Washington, DC – Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today sent a letter to each of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives urging passage of a permanent extension of the World Trade Center Health Program. In the letter, Donovan highlights the heroic life and tragic death of Diane DiGiacomo:
Over the past several months, I have focused on sharing the stories of the men and women who struggle with 9/11-related illnesses. Diane DiGiacomo, for example, spent weeks after 9/11 rescuing pets left behind in lower Manhattan apartments (see her story here). Last year, doctors diagnosed her with cancer. This past Sunday, I attended her wake. For Diane and the thousands of others like her, I implore you to permanently reauthorize the WTC Health Program.
On September 8, 2015, fourteen years after the 2001 attacks on America, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) added to its 9/11 memorial wall 21 new names of fallen heroes. All of these first responders survived that terrible day, only to contract illnesses later from exposure to the deadly toxins and chemicals infecting the air after the 110-story towers fell. Five of them were my constituents, men who relied on the WTC Health Program for medical treatment and screening. Sadly, the program’s authorization lapsed on September 30 of this year, 22 days after the ceremony at FDNY headquarters.
I represent 6,749 heroes who rely on the WTC health program for medical screening and treatment. If Congress reauthorizes the program, lives will be saved and families protected from bankrupting medical costs – expenses they would not face but for their selfless work picking up the pieces in our generation’s darkest hour. These 6,749 heroes are why reauthorizing the WTC Health Program is so personal to me. They answered their call 14 years ago. All of them, and their families, need us to answer their call now by reauthorizing this program for the long-term.
-- Congressman Donovan represents Staten Island and South Brooklyn in Congress. He is New York City’s only Republican representative.