Gottheimer Praises House Passage of 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Jul 12, 2019
Press

Bill gets the backs of 9/11 first responders

WASHINGTON – Today, Friday, July 12, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), commended the final House passage of H.R. 1327 – the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alverez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. The bill provides long-overdue support to cover 9/11 survivors’ and first responders’ injuries, lost earnings, benefits, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Gottheimer is an original cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Co-Chaired by Gottheimer, endorsed the bill earlier this year and called for swift floor passage with bipartisan support.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund announced that injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors would receive cuts to their awards due to insufficient funding, including reductions of 50% for pending claims and 70% for future claims, noting the dramatic increase in claims filed. The bill passed today extends the Victim Compensation Fund until 2092 and will reverse all cuts in compensation.

“So many of us, under the leadership of Chairman Nadler, Representative Maloney, and Representative King, have been fighting to support our 9/11 first responders for so long,” said U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), following today’s House passage of H.R. 1327. “Our success today is a testament to how Congress can come together — with more than 300 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle — to get the backs of those who bravely had our backs and stood up to terrorism that tragic day, and in the weeks and months that followed.”

Gottheimer spoke on the House floor urging support for H.R. 1329, just before taking part in a press conference in theU.S. Capitol alongside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Rep. Pete King, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 9/11 advocate Jon Stewart, the family of the late Luis Alvarez, and 9/11 first responders and survivors.

“Hundreds of Jersey and New York law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and others answered the call and rushed toward the pile as others ran out. If you ask how they were able to summon the courage, they will tell you they were simply doing their job that day. And Congress now has the opportunity to do ours,” Gottheimer said on the House floor today.

Gottheimer noted that there are nearly 7,000 9/11 survivors and first responders living in New Jersey.

Video of Congressman Gottheimer’s remarks on the House floor can be viewed here.

Congressman Gottheimer’s floor remarks as prepared for delivery:

We’re here today to have the backs of first responders, especially those who stood up to terrorists that morning and ran directly into the burning buildings on 9/11 and stayed in the weeks and months that followed.

They are heroes and they need our help.

Hundreds of Jersey and New York law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and others answered the call and rushed toward the pile as others ran out.

If you ask how they’re able to summon the courage, they will tell you they were simply doing their job that day.

And Congress now has the opportunity to do ours

Too many first responders are still suffering illnesses and cancers from 9/11 exposure to toxins, smoke, and debris, including too many people who are still suffering in my district.

Congress set up the Victim Compensation Fund to cover 9/11 injuries and medical expenses. Those who were exposed back in 2001 are, sadly, first developing symptoms now.

More than 47,000 claims have been filed with the Fund and more than 11,000 additional claims are expected by 2020, when the Fund is set to expire. We must act today.

I urge my colleagues to vote in support of the bipartisan H.R. 1327: Never Forget the Heroes Act. I thank Chairman Nadler, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and Rep. Peter King for their leadership, and for the Problem Solvers Caucus for strongly supporting it.

We have an obligation to do everything we can to stand by our first responders and survivors of those horrific attacks by terrorists.

I yield back.

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