Speaker Pelosi, Maloney, Nadler, King and Advocates Celebrate House Passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act

Jul 12, 2019
Press Release
Group Calls on Senate and Leader McConnell to Pass Bill Quickly

WASHINGTON, DC – Following House passage of the H.R. 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and lead bill sponsors Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) joined with first responders, survivors, victim’s families and advocates to celebrate this step in making the VCF permanent.

“It was a great honor to join Congresswoman Maloney and bipartisan Members of Congress to stand with 9/11 first responders, families and advocates in support of the ‘Never Forget the Heroes Act,’” said Speaker Pelosi.  “This bill honors our solemn responsibility to ensure the financial security and support that our heroes, survivors and families deserve, and is a fitting tribute to the courage of James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez, and so many other heroes who showed courage beyond measure: not only by running toward danger that day, but by giving their last days to fight for all harmed on 9/11.  Today, and on all days, we pledge to never forget their service and sacrifice.”

“After 9/11, we vowed to never forget. With that promise, we committed to making sure these heroes never have to go without the support they need and never have to wonder if support will be there for them and their families,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The true Twin Towers of New York are the FDNY and the NYPD. And I will not rest until this program is made permanent and this bill signed into law.”

“Today 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 King.

“This is no longer about a CBO score, or passing legislation. This 15-year journey is about cementing the legacies of James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer & Luis Alvarez. It is finally time for Congress & the Senate to stand united and ease the pain of a fragile community who have endured too much pain & suffering. Let us now be with our loved ones and enjoy whatever quality of life we may have,” said John Feal, 9/11 Responder and Advocate.

“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. 

"There is no expiration date on our nation's obligation to care for the heroes of 9/11 and their families. The greatest sacrifice still lies ahead for too many of our police officers and other first responders, in the form of new cancers and other diseases that are still emerging all these years later. We are deeply grateful to Rep. Maloney and the entire New York delegation for leading the fight to get this bill through the House. Now the Senate must act to honor its obligation to our heroes by permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund," said NYC PBA President Patrick J. Lynch.

“By passing the Never Forget the Heroes Act, the House has given new hope to the scores of fire fighters, emergency medical responders, and others who answered the call when their nation needed them in the days and weeks after September 11th”, said Harold Schaitberger, General President, International Association of Fire Fighters. “We have a moral obligation as nation to care for these heroes; I urge the Senate to immediately take up and pass this critical legislation.”

"Today, 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. This is 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.”

“We are thrilled to see the House answer our call to protect the thousands of young adults that were returned to dangerously contaminated schools, homes, and neighborhoods immediately after 9/11 and are now sick and dying. We hope that the Senate will take up this legislation with the same haste so that instead of begging Congress for help we can focus on our actual mission, which is to serve the needs of the survivor community,” said Lila Nordstrom, survivor advocate.

"Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America applauds Congresswoman Maloney on her leadership in getting the permanent VCF authorization to final House passage," said IAVA CEO Jeremy Butler.  "It is unacceptable that 9/11 first responders and survivors have been forced to travel countless times to Washington, DC to ask for this. These heroes worked tirelessly, rushing in to the crumbling towers to save thousands and to then bring closure to thousands more families in the aftermath of 9/11. As Americans, we must always remain committed to care for those who made such selfless sacrifices."   

“Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act want to thank Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King for their steadfast determination in making today happen on behalf of injured and ill 9/11 responders, survivors and their families.  We expect Senator McConnell will be true to his word and will move the legislation quickly before the August recess,” said Benjamin Chevat, Executive Director of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act Inc.