Editorial - The 9/11 victims fund is finally fixed

Jul 29, 2019
In The News

Less than seven weeks after the dramatic June 11 testimony of since-departed NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, President Trump on Monday signed the law ensuring that the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund will have all the cash it needs through 2092.

That is, ailing and aging first responders like Alvarez will never again have to head to Washington to push Congress to live up to the promises it made when it first set up the fund to cover medical expenses related to work in Ground Zero’s toxic environment in the days after the terrorist attack.

The standard appropriation process wasn’t working: The fund wasn’t due for reauthorization for another two years but started running short last fall — cutting payouts down to just 20% per claim.

Alvarez’s gripping words, delivered just before what turned out to be his final round of chemo, plainly put the bill on the fast track — with a nudge from celebrity Jon Stewart, who blasted all the committee members who skipped that hearing.

The longest single delay after that was the wait for the Congressional Budget Office to put an official price tag on the bill. Even the normally glacial Senate got it passed less than two weeks after the House sent it over.

Though some played politics on this issue from start to finish, New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Pete King have worked together all along, cooperating across party lines to do right no matter who controlled the White House or Congress.

Alvarez put it simply: “We did the right thing when we went down there. Now it’s the government’s turn to do the right thing by us.”

For once, the system worked.