WASHINGTON (AP) _ Advocates for ailing Sept. 11 first responders say Congress should permanently extend a law providing medical monitoring and treatment for the rescue workers so they can feel assured that their health care will not be cut off.

Dr. John Howard, administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday that extending the law would allow administrators to better plan patient care.

Supporters say the law should be permanent, in part because some illnesses may not manifest until years later, after the statute of limitations for worker’s compensation or certain state laws may have run out.

The law is set to expire in October 2015.