NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) –  City council members, members of NYPD and FDNY unions held a news conference and rally on the steps of City Hall Thursday to encourage Congress to reauthorize the Zadroga 9/11 Act.

Four years ago, President Barack Obama signed the act, which pays the medical bills for the 33,000 people suffering from 9/11-related illnesses, including first responders. The bill’s two critical programs providing medical treatment and compensation are set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016.

Lower Manhattan resident Mariama James’ three children developed 9/11 related breathing problems.

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“At one point every single month, all three of them, co-payments times three, prescriptions times three and it’s been close to 14 years of that,” she told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

The reauthorization of the Zadroga Act would bring relief to James.

“You know, there’s enough stresses,” the mother of three said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last year it is a moral imperative to help sick 9/11 first responders receive the help they need.

“Why is there a question about them getting what they deserve?” he told reporters. “There should be no question. This should not be a debate. This should be simply a march to action.”

The bill is named for James Zadroga, an NYPD officer who died of a 9/11-related illness.

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