Lawmakers cheer renewal of fund to compensate ailing 9/11 responders

Emergency workers suffering serious illnesses caused by toxic dust at Ground Zero won an emotional victory on Friday when the House overwhelmingly approved a bill that will prolong a compensation fund for them and fill a looming shortage that threatened to slash their payments.

The vote took place a month after Jon Stewart, the comic and stalwart advocate for ailing 9/11 responders, berated Congress members at a hearing for dithering over the fund and forcing responders and their advocates to return repeatedly for renewals. The bill that passed 402-12 on Friday would effectively make the fund permanent by authorizing it through 2092.

“Look, this isn’t just another bill,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, said in a statement afterward. “This is a sacred duty. You can’t go to a community in the Hudson Valley without finding a New Yorker who lost someone on 9/11 or in the years since. This fund helps these brave first responders and volunteers who risked everything after the attacks to live a longer life.”

Quoted in the same press release was Orange County resident Rafael Nieves, a retired New York City police detective who is suffering illnesses from his work at Ground Zero and got help from Maloney’s office to benefit from the compensation fund.

“As a first responder who was on duty during the September 11th terror attacks, I know firsthand the lasting horrors experienced by emergency responders and volunteers who spent weeks sifting through the rubble for any signs of life,” Nieves said.

The bill now awaits a Senate vote. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been a vocal advocate for the compensation fund, noted on Friday that the Senate now has a fillibuster-proof majority in support of the bill – 72 co-sponsors from both parties. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to bring a vote on the bill within two weeks, she said.

“This needs to get done now,” she said. “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.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives