The Treasury Department withheld roughly $3.7 million from the New York City Fire Department’s (FDNY) fund for its 9/11 first responders, according to documents obtained by the New York Daily News.
The program was established in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act passed by Congress in 2010. The newspaper reported Thursday that four years ago the Treasury Department began withholding payments to the FDNY’s World Trade Center Health Program without giving an explicit explanation.
“This was just disappearing,” the program’s director, David Prezant, told the News. “This is the most amazing thing. This was disappearing — without any notification.”
“Here we have sick World Trade Center-exposed firefighters and EMS workers, at a time when the city is having difficult financial circumstances due to COVID-19, and we’re not getting the money we need to be able to treat these heroes,” Prezant added.
The program’s administrative director, Jessica Weakley, confirmed the News’s reporting to The Hill and said that the withholdings amounted to roughly $3.7 million.
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill nor did they provide a statement to the The News.
New York lawmakers reacted to The News’s reporting — which came the day before the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — by calling on the Treasury Department to restore full funding to the program.
“The Trump Treasury Department siphoning funds meant to pay for 9/11 workers’ healthcare is outrageous,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice Treasury Dept. sanctions Russian, Ukrainian individuals for election interference North Carolina attorney general says DeJoy allegations merit investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted Friday.
New York Rep. Max RoseMax RoseDemocrat releases 15-second ad calling de Blasio ‘worst mayor in the history of New York City’ Russia ‘amplifying’ concerns around mail-in voting to undermine election: report Hillicon Valley: Democrats demand answers over Russian interference bulletin | Google Cloud wins defense contract for cancer research | Cyberattack disrupts virtual classes MORE (D) posted a tweet saying Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Russia, China and Iran target US elections | Twitter to remove premature election results | Treasury adds Russians, Ukrainians to designated nationals list GOP senators say coronavirus deal dead until after election Senate Democrats block GOP relief bill MORE “doesn’t need to give us answers, he needs to give our heroes the money they’re owed. Yesterday.”
According to the News, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) wrote to Mnuchin over the summer after receiving complaints from constituents.
“I gotta tell him,” King told the News. “Forget the politics. I don’t want to sound naive, but this is terrible, absolutely inexcusable.”