NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Zadroga Act, a law that provides medical treatment and monitoring for responders who rushed to the World Trade Center on 9/11, will expire at midnight Wednesday due to Congress' failure to act.
For now, officials said first responders who put their lives on the line during the terror attack and now suffer from from illnesses like pulmonary disease and cancer, will still be able to access their health care.
However, federal officials responsible for administering the program warn that by February the program will start to face challenges and will ultimately have to start shutting down by next summer.
Jake Lemonda heads the fire officers' union.
"If you are lying in bed and you are diagnosed with some cancer and you are hearing that the government refuses to reauthorize an act to pay for your treatment for the duty that you performed," Lemonda told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman. "They served this country when this country needed them the most."
The union's Richard Alles said when they brought John Stewart to lobby Congress it was respectful, but "If we have to bring him down again, it will not be as cordial."
The Zadroga Act is one of several that will expire at midnight. While Congress moved to pass legislation to keep government agencies open, there are some programs that depend on further action to operate long term.
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