Despite the best efforts of 9/11 survivors, New York's Congressional representatives, and Jon Stewart to shame Republicans into renewing and extending health care and compensatory benefits for ailing 9/11 first responders and their families, the legislation remains stalled. Yesterday Mayor de Blasio, first responders, and both of New York's senators rallied at Ground Zero to urge Congressional Republicans to pass the legislation before lawmakers leave D.C. for the holidays.

“We have been on the cusp of passing this bill for weeks and months,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the legislation's primary sponsor, told the crowd yesterday. “But somehow it hasn’t gotten done. It isn’t a controversial issue.”

The health care component to the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which serves around 33,000 people, expired in late September, while the portion that provides compensation to the families of first responders who have died due to complications from exposure to the cleanup will expire next year.

The Republican majority leaders in the Senate and the House both support a permanent extension of the benefits. The legislation likely has more than enough votes to pass.

But Congressional Republicans, like Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, have called for a five-year extension instead, insisting that the Zadroga Act is another entitlement program.

And while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he supports a permanent extension, he still blocked it from being attached to a major transportation bill, and is using the Zadroga Act as leverage.

In a statement to the Times, Goodlatte was still insisting on his five-year plan: “I am pleased to advise that we are close to a final deal with the sponsors of the original Zadroga Act in order to provide a fully funded five-year extension of the 9/11 [legislation].”

Congress's holiday recess begins December 19th, though lawmakers have until the end of this week to tie up loose ends by passing an omnibus bill.

Jack McNamara, 9, who is holding the sign in the photo above, lost his father John to colon cancer. Jack's mother, Jennifer, told the Times that her husband's cancer was caused by exposure to chemicals during the cleanup at Ground Zero.

“I promised him on his deathbed that I would never give up the fight, and that when Jack was old enough, he would take up the fight," she told the paper.