Maloney, Schumer, Nadler, and NYC Advocates Celebrate House Passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act and Call on Senate to Pass Bill Quickly

Jul 15, 2019
Press Release

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) joined New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and 9/11 first responders and health and compensation advocates to celebrate the overwhelming House passage of H.R. 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. The coalition of advocates lauded the considerable support the bill received across both sides of the aisle, and called on the Senate and Leader McConnell to pass this bill as quickly as possible.

Friday’s vote was a critical step forward in making the Victim Compensation Fund permanent, and is a monumental achievement for the first responders, survivors, victim’s families, advocates, and elected officials who are working tirelessly to get this bill passed. The fight, however, is not yet over and it is crucial that the Senate and Leader McConnell pass this bill as quickly as possible. Our nation’s heroes should never have to go without the support and critical care they need, and we cannot rest until this program is made permanent and this bill is signed into law.

“For too long, the 9/11 community has had to make their way to Washington, DC and beg Congress to do our jobs and advocate for them. Last week, the House finally passed the Never Forget the Heroes Act to fully fund and make permanent the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and I am honored to celebrate this important step with the advocates and survivors who have been fighting for our nation’s heroes since the beginning. Senator McConnell must stick to his word and pass this bill immediately. It is the least we can do for the brave men and women who were there for us in one of our nation’s darkest hours, and I will not rest until every survivor, first responder, and family member gets the critical care and compensation they deserve,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).

“Leader McConnell must commit to all the families and all the victims who rushed to the towers in those fateful days after 9/11 and say that we will fully and permanently fund the victim’s compensation fund. This is a bipartisan issue, we are both Democrats and Republicans on the legislation, we are pushing it hard, and I believe that the President would sign it. All we need is Leader McConnell to put it on the floor of the Senate right after it passes the House and it will get done, and all those families can breathe a sigh of relief. These families have waited too long, there’s been too much delay. It should be made permanent and done, asap, and it’s in Leader McConnell’s hands,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer 

“I commend the House for passing the ‘Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act’ and doing the right thing for our heroes,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The Senate Majority Leader gave his commitment to get this bill done over the next two weeks and we now have 72 bipartisan cosponsors – which means there are no excuses. He must be accountable to his word and not use this bill for political games. It would be unconscionable for the Senate to ask 9/11 responders to spend any more of their precious time walking the halls of Congress and fighting to make the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund permanent. This needs to get done now. We need to let these men and women get back to their lives and families. We need to show with our actions – not just our words – that we will never forget what these heroes did for our nation. We owe them nothing less.”

“Following last week’s strong bipartisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, permanent reauthorization of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is one step closer to being signed into law,” said U.S. Senator Cory Gardner. “After everything the first responders of 9/11 did for us, our nation cannot and will not turn its back on them. I urge the Senate to take up this legislation as soon as possible and send it to the president’s desk to honor the heroes of 9/11 and ensure they have the support they’ve earned and desperately need.”

“Friday’s passage in the House of Representatives is a victory for the responders and survivors of September 11 and for the allies who have fought alongside us for years to reach this moment,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “For eighteen years, we promised the responders and survivors of the September 11 attacks that we would never forget their bravery on that fateful day. The House has finally lived up to this promise, fulfilling our moral obligation to, in Lincoln’s words ‘care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan’, and it is imperative that the Senate do the same.”

“Passage of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund legislation is a great victory for the heroes and victims of the 9/11 attacks. Now it must be passed in the Senate. The fight must go on!” said Congressman Peter King (NY-02).

“Sick and dying responders deserve the care and compensation guaranteed under this critical legislation.  They have waited too long; today’s vote is an important first step towards a permanent VCF and I thank Representatives Maloney, Nadler and King for their leadership in securing today’s vote,” said Jake Lemonda, President, Uniformed Fire Officers Association Local 854 IAFF AFL CIO.

There are thousands of brave firefighters in the Fire Department of New York who have suffered tremendously because of their heroism on the fateful day of 9-11. Cancer and other chronic, life threatening illness are a reality for not only the firefighters and emergency response personnel, but also their families and friends. Though money doesn’t replace the victims’ lives cut short or adversely impacted by 9-11, it does help ease the tremendous burden of financial distress caused by the loss of life or the chronic injuries sustained by first responders. It would be unconscionable for Congress to allow this to expire and immoral to leave families without the very little compensation their loved ones earned on one of the most tragic days in American history. I applaud the House of Representatives for passing this critical measure and am hopeful the Senate will do the same in the coming weeks,” said Gerard Fitzgerald, President, Uniformed Firefighters Association.

“The Never Forget the Heroes Act protects new the scores of fire fighters, emergency medical responders, and others who answered the call when their nations needed them in the days and weeks after September 11th.  We have a moral obligation as nation to care for these heroes;  we applaud the House for passing this important legislation and by such a large margin. We now urge the Senate to immediately take up and pass this critical legislation,” Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

" Let us savor the moment of passing HR1327 in the House on Friday. It truly took a village. But we still have much more work to do to ensure S546 passes the Senate with the same type of support it had in the Congress. We are confident we get this bill to the President’s desk for his signature, but until then none of us should be spiking the football or popping the champagne just yet," said John Feal, 9/11 Responder and Advocate.

"We applaud the House of Representatives for taking this critical action to finally permanently extend the funding that helps protect and improve the health and well-being of some of our nation's most courageous first responders," said New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez. "These are workers and families who are still feeling the effects of what happened on September 11, 2001. Now we call on the Senate to keep their promise and finally do right by the selfless men and women who have already sacrificed so much. They've already waited far too long, " said Vincent Alvarez, President, NYC Central Labor Council.

“The U.S. House of Representatives took the long and overdue step of voting to fully fund and make permanent the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. It was an important milestone in our fight to ensure that the brave responders, survivors and their families will get the financial support they so rightly deserve,” said Mario Cilento, President, NYS AFL-CIO. “I thank Representatives Maloney, Nadler and King, as well as the entire New York Delegation for their tireless support for the 'Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.' And now, with a bipartisan group of 72 sponsors, I call on the Senate to take swift action to pass the bill. We stood together as a nation on that horrific day, and vowed to never forget. It is time to follow through on that promise once and for all."

“Nearly 18 years after the 9/11 attacks, hundreds of our city’s bravest first responders are suffering and dying because they answered the call for help that day,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the 100,000 member Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “Today we are grateful that the House of Representatives has passed the Never Forget the Heroes Act, which allows those battling 9/11-related illnesses to get the compensation they deserve for their sacrifices made in service to their nation, as well as ensuring that support is permanent. None of this would have been possible without the leadership of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and New York’s Congressional delegation, who have led the charge to get this done,” Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater NY.

 “Instead of ending the Victim Compensation Fund, let’s finally end the charade where sick survivors and responders must trek down to Washington and beg for Congress to honor their promise to #neverforget. The House has answered our call to protect the thousands of people that were returned to dangerously contaminated schools, homes, and neighborhoods immediately after 9/11. The Senate must now do their part," said Lila Nordstrom, Survivor Advocate and Executive Director of StuyHealth.

“The work of September 11 Victims Compensation Fund is far from finished,” said NYC PBA Treasurer Pat Hendry. “We have already lost more than 200 members of the NYPD to 9/11-related injury and illness. Unfortunately, that number will keep growing for many years to come. Every one of these heroes and their families deserve care and compensation. We are deeply grateful to Rep. Maloney, the New York delegation and their House colleagues for fighting tirelessly to pass this bill. Now it is time for the Senate to do its job and ensure that none of our heroes are left wanting, ever again.”

“Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act want to thank Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King and all the 402 members of the House that voted for the legislation in such an overwhelming bi partisan vote. The Senate must take this bill up before the August recess as Senate Majority Leader McConnell committed would happen, so that injured and ill 9/11 responders, survivors and their families can get the help they need and deserve,” said Benjamin Chevat, Executive Director of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act.