The House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted in favor the Never Forget the Heroes Act on Thursday after receiving a tongue lashing from comedian, actor and 9/11 activist Jon Stewart the previous day.
Never Forget the Heroes Act would call on Congress to renew the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, which would provide healthcare and compensation to first responders, volunteers, and survivors that lived, worked or went to school near Ground Zero on and after September 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Victims Compensation Fund will expire on Dec. 31, 2020, at a time when it has been estimated that there will be more people dying from 9/11-related diseases than the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives 18 years ago, according to renew911health.org.
“Your indifference cost these men and women their most invaluable commodity – time!” said Stewart in Washington D.C. on June 12. “The FDNY response time to 9/11 was five seconds. That’s how long it took for FDNY, for NYPD, for Port Authority, for EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public.”
Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), one of the co-sponsors Resolution 897, a bill that would call on Congress to enact the Never Forget the Heroes Act that was introduced by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Astoria) on the federal level, agreed that it is time for the act to go forward for a vote.
“The escalating crisis of sick and injured seeking help through the Victims Compensation Fund must be resolved quickly and definitively,” said Miller, chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor Chair. “Last month, Council Member Margaret Chin and I introduced a resolution calling on Washington to enact Congresswoman Maloney and Senator Gillibrand’s Never Forget the Heroes Act, so that every afflicted responder and survivor can be properly compensated and given the peace of mind they rightly deserve.
We thank House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler for his leadership in moving this critical bipartisan measure towards a final vote, and urge the Senate to act in kind soon afterward.”
The Never Forget the Heroes Act is expected to clear the House of Representatives and has already garnered support 330 of its members, according to Maloney at a press conference last month.
The bill would also need support from the Senate to move forward and later from President Donald Trump.
“I am working with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Leader [Steny] Hoyer to get this bill to the Senate as quickly as possible so that they can send it to the President’s desk,” said Maloney. “This bill is about fulfilling our promise to ‘Never Forget.’ And we won’t stop fighting until we guarantee that this program will be there for anyone and everyone who needs it today and in the future.”