Congress Fails To Extend 9/11 First Responders' Health Care Program

| by Michael Allen
Obama Signs Zadroga ActObama Signs Zadroga Act

Jon Stewart, the former host of the "Daily Show," held a rally in September urging Congress to extend a law that provides for the medical care of first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act was passed in late 2010, and signed by President Obama in January 2011 (pictured), but was not renewed by the GOP-controlled Congress and ended on Sept. 30, notes NBC News.

Zadroga was a New York City police officer who succumbed to a respiratory disease after working at Ground Zero for nearly a month.

The program provides health care for 33,000 first responders, and looks after another 40,000, reports Newsday.

Congress went into recess without reauthorizing the health care program, which has funding into 2016, but will begin shutting down next summer.

Democrat Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Republican Rep. Peter King of New York wrote an op-ed in The Hill: "In the final hours of 2010, more than nine years after the attacks, Congress passed the Zadroga Act. We never intended for this important legislation to expire so quickly, but, once again, Washington politics got in the way."

Democrat Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote in an op-ed for the New York Daily News, "We have a moral obligation to reauthorize these programs and make them permanent, so that the 9/11 community never has to lobby for these programs again. We have introduced a bill that has bipartisan support in both the U.S. Senate and House that we must pass this year."

Sources: NBC News, The Hill, New York Daily News, Newsday / Photo Credit: The White House/Flickr