A.G. says Trump Administration’s Budget Would Dismantle Management of the World Trade Center Health Program and Jeopardize the Health of 9/11 Survivors and First Responders.
New York, NY - April 11, 2018 - In a new letter, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman urged Congress to protect the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and the vital health care it provides to 9/11 survivors and first responders. The letter urges Congress to oppose President Trump’s budget proposal, which would separate the WTCHP from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), where the WTCHP has been housed since its creation.
“Our country has a solemn obligation to provide health care to the tens of thousands of survivors and first responders who are still suffering from 9/11-related injuries and illnesses,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Congress must act to ensure 9/11 survivors and first responders continue to receive the care that they need and deserve.”
The WTCHP provides critical health treatment and medical monitoring services for those exposed to the 9/11 disaster. Since at least 2002, NIOSH has been at the forefront of responding to 9/11-related health issues funding monitoring and treatment services and critical research; WTCHP often utilizes the expertise of staff in positions shared with NIOSH.
As the letter notes, the WTCHP serves responders and survivors of the 9/11 disaster sites in New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA. The WTCHP includes a Responder Program for rescue and recovery workers, including more than 16,000 New York City firefighters. The WTCHP also includes a Survivor Program for those who lived, worked, or went to school in Lower Manhattan on 9/11.
In total, it covers over 83,000 responders and survivors who live and seek monitoring and treatment in all 50 states, including in 433 of 435 Congressional districts. The WTCHP, which followed the NIOSH-administered World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and World Trade Center Environmental Health Center grant, continues to rely on NIOSH’s experience in helping 9/11 survivors.
“Separating the WTCHP from NIOSH would be unnecessarily disruptive and potentially dangerous for the victims of the greatest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor,” Attorney General Schneiderman wrote. “I urge you to do all that you can to block this unwise and potentially dangerous proposal in the President’s Budget.”
The letter was sent today to Sen. Lamar Alexander (Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions), Sen. Patty Murray (Ranking Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions), Sen. Richard Shelby (Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies-Committee on Appropriations), Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations), Rep. Greg Walden (Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce), Rep. Frank Pallone (Ranking Member, Committee on Energy and Commerce), Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (Chairman, Committee on Appropriations), and Rep. Nita Lowey (Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations).