On February 25, 2019, a group of 21 bipartisan House Representatives served as introductory co-sponsors of the Never Forget the Heroes Act. Since that day, 14 additional Senators have agreed to sponsor the Never Forget the Heroes Act, bringing the total to 35- a number that will hopefully increase as time goes on. Historically, convincing Senators to support 9/11 health and compensation benefits for responders and survivors has been difficult. However, we are hopeful that in due time, at least a simple majority of 51 Senators will support the Never Forget the Heroes Act.
Two version of the bill are currently pending in Congress- H.R. 1327 in the House and S.546 in the Senate. For the Never Forget the Heroes Act to pass, we need a simple majority of votes in each chamber of congress, and the President’s signature. With 35 Senate co-sponsors, we need 16 more to reach a simple majority,
The Never Forget the Heroes Act has been introduced to rescue the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (9/11 VCF) from running out of money and time. The 9/11 VCF is currently in crisis since February 15, 2019 when Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya announced devastating 50 to 70% cuts in compensation to 9/11 responders and victims.
In addition to running out of money, the 9/11 VCF is due to expire on December 18, 2020. In 2015, when the 9/11 VCF was reauthorized, legislators thought the 9/11 cancer plague would be over by December 18, 2020. We now know that due to latency periods, the 9/11 cancer rate is actually skyrocketing with a 3800% increase in just five years with over 10,000 total diagnoses.
The overwhelming support for the Never Forget the Heroes Act in the House has reinforced the fact that the 9/11 health crisis is not a New York problem – it is an American problem and a national epidemic. 9/11 victims reside in all fifty states and in 434 out of 435 Congressional districts. Now, we need the same level of support in the Senate.