Congressman Crowley Speaks Out Against Scheduled Cuts to 9/11 Health Bill

October 26, 2012
Press Release

Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) denounced the $38 million cut to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, scheduled as part of the deal known as sequestration, during a visit to the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. Set to take place in 2013, sequestration includes over $1 trillion in spending cuts from defense and domestic programs, including the Zadroga Act, which provides assistance to the thousands of people who are now suffering from health issues as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Crowley, the only member of Congress to have lost a family member on 9/11, spoke to the importance of this program and the urgency to address this issue given the limited number of days left on the legislative calendar.

“Not only was sequestration a reckless move, but the fact that our 9/11 heroes and survivors – who are in desperate need of the proper health care – may have to pay the price is just plain unacceptable,” said Rep. Crowley. “But there is something we can do: we can make sure sequestration never happens. With only a handful of days left in the legislative calendar, Congress must take action as soon as possible. I pledge to do everything in my power to prevent these dangerous cuts and protect all those who were nearby that fateful day.”

A preliminary report by the Office of Management and Budget shows that $38 million is slated to be cut from critical 9/11 programs that were passed into law under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act should sequestration go into effect. The report finds that $24 million would be cut from the Victim Compensation Fund, and $14 million would be cut from the World Trade Center Health Fund in 2013.

During his visit to the WTC Environmental Health Center at Elmhurst Hospital, Crowley viewed the center’s work treating survivors of the September 11th terrorist attacks and others who have experienced health issues as a result of the attacks. Crowley also met with patients to hear about their experiences and get a first-hand look at the center’s programs and services, and applauded the recent addition of certain cancers to the program. Joining Crowley on the tour were Chris Constantino, Executive Director of Elmhurst Hospital; Terry Miles, Executive Director of the WTC Environmental Health Center; and Dr. Alfredo Astua, pulmonologist in the WTC center at Elmhurst Hospital.

“I was so touched to meet patients at the center,” said Crowley. “My message to them was two-fold: get better and know that I will never give up give up fighting for you.”

Congressman Crowley is the seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as a Chief Deputy Whip in the House of Representatives.