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The federal fund designed to help Sept. 11 first responders and survivors pay for healthcare costs expires at midnight.

Despite insistent pressure by New York lawmakers and local celebrities including Jon Stewart, Congress missed the deadline to renew the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

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The $1.6 billion health care program serves some 70,000 residents across New York and New Jersey who worked, lived or responded to the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks in 2001.


Enough money is left from the previous, equally contestedauthorization in 2011to pay for care for another year, but lawmakers from both states have been pushing in both the House and Senate to authorize a more permanent solution.

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"Fourteen years ago, we gathered on the steps of the Capitol and vowed to never forget. We must not walk away," read an open letter by New York Rep.Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler and Peter King in The Hill.

Neither House nor Senate leaders have publicly announced when a bill to reauthorize would be up for a vote.

On Wednesday, local leaders called on Congress to act sooner rather than later.

Congress must stop putting politics ahead of our heroes' health," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, "and ensure that our police officers, firefighters, medical professionals and all first responders and survivors receive the health care and support they need and deserve."

Public Advocate Letitia James agreed: "Allowing the Zadroga Act to expire goes against our most basic values as Americans, and would be a national mark of shame."

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