Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of 9/11
This morning I spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and to support the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which passed the House by an unanimous vote and is now headed to the President for his consideration. Links to those remarks are below.
Fifteen years after the worst terrorist attack in American history, the memories of that fateful day are still fresh in my mind. Our country, through our great sorrow, was able to draw strength and comfort from leaning on one another – neighbor comforting neighbor, strangers propping one another up as we dealt with the unbearable wound inflicted on our city and nation. We pledged to "Never Forget" what happened -- to honor those we lost that day and to always be there for the first responders and survivors who suffered, and continue suffering, from devastating diseases caused by the Ground Zero toxins.
In honor of that pledge and in recognition of all those who still carry the wounds of that attack, I had the honor this past year of working with Reps. Jerry Nadler (NY-12) and Peter King (NY-02), along with hundreds of dedicated advocates in a bipartisan effort to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, an $8.1 billion bill that makes the World Trade Center Health Program essentially permanent, and also fully funds the Victim Compensation Fund for another five years. As the longtime sponsor and author of this legislation in the House, seeing this bill pass was one of my proudest moments in Congress.
Fifteen years later, there are accounts of 10 to 15 cancer diagnoses a week and because of this bill those who suffer from the long term health effects of 9/11 will be taken care of by their American family.
JASTA is another step in our efforts to keep our promise to "Never Forget." This important bill will empower survivors and families of the victims of international terrorism to seek a measure of justice through our civil courts. Previous efforts to use our courts to hold state sponsors of terrorism accountable were stymied by misinterpretations of previous legislation and lower court decisions. With JASTA, which is narrowly focused and applies only to attacks committed on U.S. soil that harm U.S. nationals, victims of terrorism on U.S. soil will be better able to bring civil suits against foreign states for aiding and abetting terrorism.
"Never Forget" also calls us to remember that we are one nation – and we must remember the way all New Yorkers, and all Americans, came together in the aftermath of this attack on our values and way of life. Fifteen years later, I find that it is more important than ever to remember these values that bind us together rather than the differences that divide us.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress
I took to the House Floor on Friday morning to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of 9/11.
I spoke on the floor on Friday to urge my colleagues to pass the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).