Government cuts could affect Zadroga benefits

February 25, 2013 3:15:31 PM PST
Friday, the first $85 billion round of cuts will happen if Congress doesn't act.

Lots of services are immune from cuts, but many are vulnerable including the health fund for 9/11 first responders.

They are all heroes but will they lose their benefits?

Eyewitness News caught up with Dan Moynihan between doctor's appointments, to treat conditions he suffered volunteering on, and after 9/11.

"I have COPD, hyperactive airway disease," Moynihan said, "I also have chronic migraines, chronic cluster headaches. I've been admitted by them to the hospital about 29 times. I'm in the E.R. countless times."

New York's Congressional Delegation is fighting to save funding for Dan and others.

"Nothing exemplifies this unbalanced and Draconian approach toward deficit reduction more than asking our 9/11 first responders and their families who have already sacrificed so much to sacrifice even more," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) NY.

New York lawmakers will introduce legislation this week that would protect some $27 million for the Zadroga Bill, created for those the officials call heroes.

"They volunteered to risk their lives for our safety," said Sen. Charles Schumer, (D) NY.

Many of the first responders spent weeks of 13, 16 hour days on the streets near ground zero, which were filled with debris. The air was filled with smoke and ash.

Joseph Zadroga's firefighter son died from 9/11-related illness.

"They finally passed a bill to help these people that are sick and dying, and they passed the bill, and now they want to take money away from them," said Joseph Zadroga, victim's father.

The pending cuts also threaten $3 billion in cuts for Superstorm Sandy relief.

"It's beyond belief that they'll actually do this," Moynihan said.

Lawmakers are working against a Friday deadline.

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