Brindisi announces plan to bring to floor and pass 9/11 victims compensation fund legislation, stalled while sick responders and families wait

Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Standing with local firefighters and community leaders, Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) today called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to make good on their promise to support 9/11 first responders and their families by allowing a vote on legislation to permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.

The Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (H.R. 1327), which permanently extends the expiring 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, has 332 cosponsors in the House, well over the 218 votes needed to pass.

“Congress needs to act,” Brindisi said. “On Sept. 11, many courageous New York first-responders ran towards danger. They didn’t ask questions, they didn’t hesitate, they bravely charged into the wreckage to help. We need to honor them not just with our words but with our actions. Politicians in Washington like to talk a lot about honoring our heroes, but talk is cheap. Permanently reauthorizing the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund is the right thing to do for these brave men and women.”

“There is nothing more important than making sure that the brave men and women who responded selflessly to the 9/11 attacks and their families who lost loved ones running into danger continue to be compensated by reauthorizing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund,” said Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo. “This is truly a bipartisan issue, and I am proud to stand with Congressman Brindisi to implore Speaker Pelosi to move the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill to the floor for a vote in the House of Representatives. Majority Leader McConnell has already expressed his willingness to bring this bill for a Senate vote in August. It is long past time to permanently reauthorize the VCF, and put an end to the waiting game for those first responders who were killed or injured on 9/11 and their families.”

“I’m so glad to see our congressman, Anthony Brindisi, support a bill that is so important to us—our first responders the men and women who in the line of duty are now paying with their health for the sacrifice they made that day at the time our country was under attack,” said Rome Fire Chief Ron Brement.

“As the victims of 911’s aftermath are losing the fight for their lives, for coming together and fighting for one another,” said New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association District Two Vice President Thomas E. Carcone. “It is unthinkable, that there would even be discussion or thought that these very same people would ever have to worry about funding for their medical costs and survival running dry. The 911 Victim’s Fund needs to be voted on, passed, and placed in our rear view once and for all. We have confidence in Congressman Brindisi as a co-sponsor and that he will do whatever it takes to get the rest of Congress on board.”

The VCF was created to provide compensation for those who suffered physical harm or were killed as a result of the 9/11 terror attack or the debris removal efforts that took place after the crashes. The original VCF ran from 2001-2004. In 2011, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 to allow the VCF to operate for a period of five years, ending in October 2016. Congress passed a reauthorization of that bill in 2015, which included a five-year reauthorization of the VCF, allowing individuals to submit their claims until December 18, 2020.

To date, the VCF has received 48,548 eligibility claims, with 23,390 claimants eligible for compensation. In February, the VCF reported “insufficient funds” and announced cuts of 50% for pending claims and 70% for new claims.

Earlier this month, the legislation unanimously passed the House Judiciary Committee. The bill awaits action on the House floor.

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