The Honorable Jerrold Nadler, Chairman
The Honorable Doug Collins, Ranking Member
House Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Collins:
On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I am writing to urge you to support the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (H.R. 1327) when it is marked up this week in the House Judiciary Committee. This bill will guarantee that those sickened as a result of the 9/11 attacks will receive compensation for their 9/11- related illnesses.
In 2010, the Congress came together and passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to provide critical health monitoring, medical treatment and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors. The law created the World Trade Center Health Program and reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). In 2015, the Congress enacted legislation to make the health program permanent and extended the VCF for five years until 2020.
As the VCF reaches expiration, the 9/11 health crisis continues to grow. Tens of thousands of brave responders, volunteers and citizens continue to suffer the impacts of the toxic exposures that occurred in the wake of those attacks. Many of these individuals are now disabled, unable to work and thousands have died from their diseases. More than 11,800 individuals have developed a 9/11- related cancer.
In February, the VCF special master announced that the funds allocated under the 2015 extension were insufficient to pay the mounting 9/11 claims, and that awards would be cut by 50 – 70%, leaving responders, survivors and their families without critical and much needed financial support. Congress must act to resolve this crisis and pass legislation to make the VCF permanent and provide the funding to pay awards and fully compensate responders and survivors impacted by the current shortfall.
Just as we must never forget those who died on September 11, 2001, we must not forget those heroic men and women who answered the call to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts. I urge you to vote for the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (H.R. 1327) to ensure that the brave 9/11 responders and survivors continue to receive the compensation they need and deserve.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department