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Republican Committee Members Agree To Support Permanent Extension Of Zadroga Act

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- After intensive lobbying from firefighters unions and sick firefighters themselves, support is growing for making the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act permanent, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

"The Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee agreed that the Zadroga 9/11 Health Act should be extended permanently," Rep. Peter King said.

King said a vote has not taken place yet, but there is growing bipartisan support, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported. 

The Zadroga Act provides medical resources and compensation for 9/11 responders suffering from related illnesses developed while working at Ground Zero. The first part of the act, which provides medical treatment, expired on Oct. 1. The Victims Compensation Fund is slated to expire in 2016.

For sickened responders, the uncertainty surrounding the program just adds to their stress, WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.

"Just imagine lying at home, diagnosed with some cancer," Chief James Lamonda, of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said. "Not only are you going through the trauma of having the cancer, and you don't know if you're treatment is going to continue or not."

To date, 33,000 people have developed 9/11-related illnesses. 

"It is a relief in the sense that it seems like we're making positive progress," Chief James Lamonda, of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said.

In early November, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined a coalition of other politicians from around the country in support of extending the bill. The coalition was formed in response to an alternative of the bill introduced by Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, which proposed a 5-year extension of the Zadroga Act, but with sharp decreases in compensation for those eligible.

Richard Alles, another union official, was lobbying on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, alongside sickened firefighters.

"I feel very optimistic that we're going to get this legislation passed by the end of the year," Alles said.

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