New York's elected officials and the family of the NYPD detective whose death inspired an eponymous Sept. 11 health care bill are applauding a vote by Congress to extend federal health monitoring and treatment to Sept. 11 first responders through 2090.
The legislation included in the year-end budget package that passed Friday also would pay an additional $4.6 billion into a compensation fund for victims and extend if for five years.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill to renew the James Zadroga Act, named for the NYPD detective who died from exposure to ground zero toxins.
Joseph Zadroga, the detective's father, told NBC 4 New York the family was pleased with the approval of extending benefits for another 75 years.
"This is definitely a home run for us," he said. "It was ridiculous to have even considered only five or 10 years."
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Sept. 11 first responders "can finally feel secure that they will have health care for the rest of their lives."
Sen. Charles Schumer, also a Democrat, said passage of the bill means "some peace of mind for each and every hero."
Gov. Cuomo hailed "a long-overdue victory for the more than 56,000 9/11 responders and survivors in New York state today."
Joseph and his wife Linda are raising James Zadroga's 14-year-old daughter Tyler in Egg Harbor, New Jersey. Before her father died, Tyler lost her mother to a heart ailment.
Joseph said the family plans to settle into the holidays with relief and gratitude that the long, hard fight for the Zadroga Act reauthorization will offer some comfort to those suffering from the horrors of ground zero.