Today, U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Peter T. King (R-NY), the House sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, wrote to the House leadership of both parties urging that steps be taken to avoid a cut in federal funds for the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) that would be triggered by the automatic sequestration of federal expenditures should Congress fail to enact deficit-cutting measures by January 2, 2013.
In the letter, the three Members of Congress wrote:
"Decreasing funding for these programs would be a devastating blow to the heroes and survivors of 9/11 and would break a solemn promise this country made to never forget the sacrifices made on that dreadful day. We urge you to work with us to ensure that we keep that promise."
The complete text of the letter is as follows:
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Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:
While much has been said about real -- and devastating -- consequences sequestration would have on our country, we write to highlight how sequestration harms a specific group of our constituents. As you know, the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund were authorized under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Compensation Act. The law provides first responders and survivors who got sick as a result of exposure to toxins at Ground Zero with much needed health care and compensation. Decreasing funding for these programs would be a devastating blow to the heroes and survivors of 9/11 and would break a solemn promise this country made to never forget the sacrifices made on that dreadful day. We urge you to work with us to ensure that we keep that promise.
According to the Sequestration Transparency Act report recently issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in Fiscal Year 2013 the WTC Health Program will be subject to a $14 million cut and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund will be cut by $24 million. Due to automatic cuts under the terms of the sequester, these two programs would be subject to a 7.6% cut thereafter. Cuts to these programs undoubtedly will threaten the care of individuals in the programs, hinder implementation of the recent decision by the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health to add certain cancers in the list of covered conditions for the programs, and limit our ability to compensate those who lost their health or their lives because of those terror attacks on our country. In addition, we have strong concerns about the manner in which the OMB calculated the potential cuts, and along with our Senate colleagues we will be writing to the agency to address these concerns.
Earlier this month we honored the eleventh anniversary of the attacks and again vowed to never forget. As we work to stave off sequestration, we urge you to keep these heroes and survivors, as well as the vital programs that serve them, in mind.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
PETER T. KING