WASHINGTON D.C. - Dozens of Sept. 11 first responders were on Capitol Hill Thursday in an effort to get the Zadroga Act extended.
Retired FDNY firefighter Ray Pfeifer, of Hicksville, was diagnosed with stage 4 renal cancer and the disease has spread to his bones. He continues to fight and credits the 9/11 James Zadroga Act for helping him to do so. The law provides first responders who are sick with federal aid for their health care needs. Pfeifer says he would not be able to afford necessary treatments if the act was to expire.
Some of Pfeifer's fellow first responders testified in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They called for the law's extension, and painted a dire view of the future if Congress allows the legislation to expire.
"I can't even put it in to words what it means to us if they don't pass this. It's a crime if they don't," Pfeifer told News 12.
According to Newsday, the reauthorization bill aims to make permanent two programs for the surviving victims of Sept. 11. One of which is a medical program that expires at the end of September. The other is a compensation program that expires at the end of September 2016.
Rep. Peter King (R - Seaford) also appeared at the House committee hearing and urged his fellow lawmakers to support the law's extension, calling it "absolutely essential."