Friday, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to pass 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,” which takes long-overdue action to provide the financial security and support that 9/11 first responders, survivors and families deserve.
“On September 11, 2001, our nation suffered an unthinkable tragedy – and witnessed the incredible bravery of hundreds of first responders who put their own lives on the line, rushing into the World Trade Center to save countless Americans and dealing with the aftermath. Today, I’m proud to sponsor and vote in favor of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to ensure that no 9/11 first responder, survivor, or family member goes without the help they deserve,” said Rep. Kilmer. “When we needed them most, they were there for us – and Congress should have their backs. With the passage of this legislation, we recommit as a nation to pledging our support to all those who risked their lives during and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, now and in the future.”
This bipartisan legislation extends the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) until 2092, similar to the timeline of the World Trade Center Health Program, and reverses all cuts in compensation for both current and future claims.
The bill is supported by a coalition of law enforcement organizations, including the National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, FBI Agents Association, and National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. The coalition states, in part, in its letter of support, “Over the past eight years, the VCF has aided 9/11 responders and their families, operating as Congress intended and as these heroes deserve. Despite that, however, the VCF is now running dangerously low on funds and since the beginning of the year has had to impose severe cuts to award amounts as a result of that shortage. … Month after month, the numbers [of claimants] keep going up, and not just from the NYPD’s ranks, but from federal, state and local agencies across the country. The ranks of the sick and the fallen now come from 434 of 435 Congressional Districts.”