Lance Pushes For 9/11 First Responders Fix
WESTFIELD, N.J. — Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) has joined as an original cosponsor of legislation to permanently fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The Never Forget the Heroes; Permanent Authorization of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was introduced today following media reports of an increase in claims, including many cancer cases, possibly leaving the VCF without enough funds to cover claims during the current authorization.
“Any reduction in the benefits for 9/11 first responders and their loved ones simply cannot happen. First responders to the 9/11 attacks came from every state and every corner of America – this wasn’t a burden shared only by our neighbors and friends in New York and New Jersey. We must see these programs continue to ensure that those who bravely stepped forward to help our Nation in its darkest hour have the benefits and care we promised. This bipartisan team of lawmakers won’t allow the Victim Compensation Fund to let anyone down,” said Lance, who helped steer the reauthorization of the World Trade Center Health Program and September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2015.
That measure has already provided a permanent healthcare program for these responders and survivors, but the program to provide compensation for their families and their suffering will expire in 2020. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY), Congressman Peter King (NY), Lance and others are authoring legislation to permanently fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. From Texas to North Carolina, responders to 9/11 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site are all facing the continued health impact of that day and its aftermath as are their families. Deaths from 9/11 diseases will soon outnumber those lost on that fateful day.
David Howley of Alexandria Township, New Jersey, a former New York City Police Officer and first responder on 9/11, has participated in the program. He added, “The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is vitally important to the many First Responders who have been suffering grave and life-threatening illnesses. It is of utmost importance that the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund be fully funded so that we can continue to take care of our family obligations even though we are no longer able to work in many cases. Illness such as cancer, and other life changing diseases continue to occur and reoccurred in many of us. I have beaten back cancer now five times and the compensation fund is a true blessing. It gives me peace of mind knowing that if and when I lose this battle my family will be provided for. I urge all lawmakers to pass this legislation.”
The leadership of the VCF has announced that because of an increase in claims the VCF will not have enough funds to cover claims during the current authorization and may have to consider reducing awards. The bipartisan lawmakers are offering this legislation as a solution.