House panel OKs permanent 9/11 victims compensation fund

Washington (PAI) — With unanimous and bipartisan votes, the Democratic-run House Judiciary Committee voted on June 12 to permanently establish the compensation fund for first responders and other victims who are sick and dying as a result of inhaling or being enveloped by the toxic gases, particulates and chemicals loosed by the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. The fund would also pay their survivors. The full House was expected to OK the measure in July.

The victims are already guaranteed government funds for their medical care, but a separate fund – to pay for their families, especially after they die, for lost earnings – is running out of money, emotional survivors told the panel the day before. It had $7.3 billion when it was set up, but it’s supposed to end next year and has only $2 billion left.

It’s paid more than 31,000 survivors and their families, with thousands of more pending claims. But its special master told lawmakers the fund has dropped so far that remaining claimants would see only 30 percent payments replacing lost earnings.

The committee voted for HR1327, to make the fund permanent. Lawmakers promised to find the money in the future to pay everyone from Fire Fighters Locals 854 and 94 members to school kids at Stuyvesant High School and nearby schools who were exposed to the toxins – and are now, in their mid-30s, sickening and dying from normally rare cancers and other diseases. Survivors have literally spread out all over the U.S., living in 433 of the U.S.’s 435 congressional districts.

“The Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association executive boards ask for your support in our Nation’s Capital as we call on Congress to enact the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act,” Local 94 said.

“Leaders from the Fire Fighters” and its two locals were on Capitol Hill Tuesday at a hearing for the permanent reauthorization of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund,” Local 854 added.

“Following the hearing, they met with members of Congress and staff to urge the passing of this important legislation that cares for Fire Fighters and other responders who were made sick by their heroic rescue and recovery efforts after America was attacked. Thanks to their hard work the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to renew the fund. The bill moves to the full House for a vote next month. #Renew911VCF.”

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