Washington, D.C. -- The World Trade Center Health Program was just one of the programs that expired as of midnight last night. But New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said there is still hope.
Two weeks ago hundreds of first responders rallied outside of Capitol Hill fighting for an extension of their health programs. On Wednesday they got their answer. The World Trade Center Health Program was left to expire. A program that affects nearly 70,000 people.
Andrew Ansbro a firefighter there on 9/11 said, “You would think this is a no brainer as they say. To take care of the first responders and the people that were down there.”
Time has run out but hope for these first responders hasn’t. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing to fight for a permanent extension of the bill. It is already gaining support from a number of bipartisan lawmakers.
"We need to act soon,” Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin said.
There is a provision that allows the WTC Health Program to use any remaining funds that hadn’t be spent by the deadline.
Some lawmakers say there’s enough to keep the assistance going for another year.
Others say it’s just a matter of time before first responders get the letter they’ve been dreading, saying their health care has run out.
“These diseases will bankrupt a family, so we want to be there for them,” Gillibrand said.
Senator Gillibrand says if this program isn’t renewed by the end of the year it will begin to shutdown. And health care for over 30,000 first responders and survivors will stop.
Other programs that expired at midnight Wednesday were the Federal Perkins Loan and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
All of these programs still have a chance of being renewed before the end of the year.