A program designed to help emergency workers and other survivors of the 9/11 attack will shut down soon if Congress doesn’t act.
Thousands of survivors of the World Trade Center bombing have experienced health problems since the 2001 attack.
The federal fund that pays to treat health problems linked to the bombing will expire if Congress doesn’t extend it this fall.
Boston firefighter Edward Kelly was one of the firefighters at Ground Zero in the hours and days after the attack.
“There's no excuse for turning your back on the people who answered the nation’s call when the nation needed them the most,” Kelly said.
New York firefighter Bill Romaka was also at Ground Zero on 9/11. He's one of the 30,000 survivors suffering health consequences from the chemicals, dust and carcinogens.
“I have the World Trade Center cough and am under treatment for that,” Romaka said.
Dr. David Prezant, the chief medical officer for the FDNY, says the World Trade Center health program regularly screens the 70,000 survivors for signs of serious illnesses and pays for treatment for those who have developed problems, like the one they've dubbed World Trade Center cancer.
“We want just to do one thing, continue our mission, continue to help people,” Prezant said.
We reached out to the CDC and found that 156 World Trade Center health program recipients live in the Atlanta area.
A bipartisan bill to make the World Trade Center Health Program permanent has been introduced in Congress, but House Speaker John Boehner has opposed it in the past. Channel 2’s Justin Gray reached out to his office multiple times this week trying to see if or when he would allow the bill to come up for a vote, but got no response.