NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — City Council introduced a resolution on Wednesday calling on Congress to reauthorize federal legislation to compensate first responders who grew ill working at ground zero.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation act, which has paid out more than $1.1 billion to those impacted by the attack, had two components, one of which expires this October. The other expires in October 2016.

Its supporters acknowledge that it was a struggle to pass the previous bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2011, and are steeling for a potentially tougher fight to secure funding from a Congress which now has both houses controlled by Republicans.

“It would be a disgrace to our nation to let the Zadroga Act expire,” said City Councilmember Margaret Chin. “It would be a slap in the face to everyone in these families that are still suffering. Congress must reauthorize the Zadroga Act and must act as soon as possible.”

Councilmember Paul Vallone said to let it expire would be unconscionable.

“It is our duty as the elected officials, and as parents, and as citizens to make sure that this never happens again and that those who continue to suffer get the medical care they deserve,” Vallone said.

Several advocates joined the councilmembers for a news conference Wednesday urging Congress to reauthorize the act, which also benefits those who lived in lower Manhattan when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 2001.

The act’s namesake, New York Police Department Detective James Zadroga, died after spending time working at the site of the World Trade Center collapse.

“My family knows all too well how (the illnesses) affect the families,” said his father, Joe Zadroga. “It is so important that this bill get extended so the heroes that were down there that day get the care that they need.”

“We’ve lost over 100 New York City firefighters since those days, we have thousands now fighting various illnesses, many serious, many right now in hospitals and hospices,” said Leroy McGinnis of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

The council resolution carries no legislative weight.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also has spoken about the need to renew the legislation. The rank-and-file police union, which has an adversarial relationship with de Blasio, has also called for the bill to be renewed; a union representative said Wednesday that it would set aside its larger differences with the mayor to work together on the issue.

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