RELEASE: Gottheimer Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Support Victims of Terrorism

Reforms the U.S. Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund. Providing justice and accountability to victims of state-sponsored terror attacks

May 16, 2024
Press

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Thursday, May 16, 2024, U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Dan Goldman (NY-10), and Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral American Victims of Terror Compensation Act, which provides funding for the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, or USVSST Fund. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are leading a companion bill in the Senate. The USVSST Fund was established in 2015 to help victims of terror attacks claim judgments delivered in U.S. courts against State Sponsors of Terror, including Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and Syria.

Since its establishment, the USVSST has struggled to obtain funds to compensate victims of state-sponsored terror in the United States. In the last three years, the USVSST made only one distribution — less than one half of a percent of the court awarded judgment. This legislation helps ensure the USVSST transparently and consistently provides compensation to more than 18,000 American victims of State Sponsors of Terrorism, including the families of the more than 3,000 victims of September 11th. Specifically, it guarantees an annual payment to victims, increases Congressional oversight over the Fund’s operations, and expands USVSST Fund personnel to ensure that the program is adequately staffed.

The American Victims of Terror Compensation Act has been broadly endorsed by 9/11 victims’ advocacy groups, including 9/11 Children for Justice, 9/11 Justice, 9/11 Families United, and the Family Steering Committee of the 9/11 Commission.

“We must never forget the lives lost during the September 11th terror attacks, including the 750 individuals from New Jersey. The best way to honor these victims of 9/11 and their families — and all those affected by state-sponsored terror attacks — is to ensure that they receive full justice and accountability against their perpetrators,” said U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan American Victims of Terror Compensation Act to make sure that victims and their families can get the relief that they deserve.”

“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation which will ensure that families of victims of state sponsored terrorism continue to receive the funding they deserve,” said Congressman Mike Lawler (NY-17). “What we cannot do as a Congress is let this fund run dry and leave rightful victims without sufficient support – the American Victims of Terror Compensation Act will ensure it doesn’t.”

The full text of the American Victims of Terror Compensation Act can be found HERE.

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