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Title: 9/11, First Responders, and Politics: An Examination of the Victims Compensation Fund of 2001 and the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
Authors: Williams, Imani
Advisors: Benjamin, Ruha
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2018
Abstract: This thesis examines the adequacy of the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) 2001, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act signed by President Obama in January of 2011, and the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015 as policy responses from the federal government to the health crisis experienced by 9/11’s first responders and other victims who worked, lived or studied near the World Trade Center (WTC) site. This examination on the adequacy of the policy responses is driven by the question: What does the federal government owe first responders, if it owes anything to them at all? This thesis engages with the existing literature on contested illnesses, politicized collective identity, biocitizenship, technogenic catastrophe, and citizenship-science alliance to assess the interactions between first responders, their allies, and the federal government. These interactions revealed that the VCF of 2001 was an inadequate response for first responders, as most of their illnesses and diseases had not yet manifested themselves in order to be eligible for compensation. The post-9/11 road to the signing of the Zadroga and Reauthorization Acts was a tumultuous political battle that revealed government negligence and discrediting of medical and scientific evidence, as well as politicians’ betrayal of American heroes. The final section of this chapter discusses the Trump Administration’s proposed budget for 2019, which would separate the World Trade Center (WTC) health program from the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and its potential to disrupt the citizenship-science alliance. The findings of this examination can be used in answering the more broad question of what role and to what extent the federal government should play in its constituent’s lives. In addition, this examination may allow first responders and their allies to better understand how their illness identity interacts with Washington D.C. and politics, in order to protect their permanent health program under a changing administration.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2022
Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022

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