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WASHINGTON - First responders are in Washington again Tuesday to try to seal the deal for a permanent extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, searching for the two senators and 16 representatives who would give them a majority of co-sponsors in each chamber.
Congress may be in recess, but lobbying of the members’ staff continued by the firefighters, police and others who helped out or were nearby and survived after the terrorist attacks hit the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
The extension so far has co-sponsors from every state except five: Alaska, Idaho, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) signed on as a co-sponsor on June 22 but withdrew the next day.
No one representing South Carolina in the House or Senate had become a co-sponsor until Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, signed on Sept. 28 as Hurricane Joaquin bore down on his home state.
After record flooding, South Carolina’s members of Congress are seeking funds, though records show that only one of them, Democrat James Clyburn, voted for the Zadroga Act in 2010.
The act’s World Trade Center Health Program technically expired on Oct. 1, but the Centers for Disease Control says it has unspent funds that will last for another year. The act’s compensation program expires on Oct. 1, 2016.