Peter King: Zadroga needs more funding

Congressman Peter King, listening to a reporter during Congressman Peter King, listening to a reporter during the Joint New York-Puerto RIco Delegation Breakfast event at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Aug. 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Rep. Peter King warned yesterday that there's not enough money allocated to care for ailing 9/11 responders and said he'd begin pushing for more funding.

"We have to face reality," said King (R-Seaford). "I know that by most every estimate we are going to need more funding."

On Monday, Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, added cancer to the illnesses covered under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

Under the law, enacted in January 2011, nearly $2.8 billion was set aside to compensate people made ill by exposure to toxins at Ground Zero. Another $1.5 billion has been allocated to fund the World Trade Center Health Program, which treats and monitors about 60,000 first responders and others exposed to Ground Zero. Funding is set to expire in 2016.

King, echoing the sentiments of New York's Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, said adding about 50 cancers was the right thing to do.

"Cancer should have been covered in the first place," he said.

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But adding those conditions will raise costs and people will remain sick after 2016, he noted.

"We have to start planning," he said. "It's a moral issue. It's not a New York issue."

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