Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Last week, he agreed to sponsor the “Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.” The Never Forget the Heroes Act is now sponsored by 70 Republican House Representatives (there are over 285 total sponsors). Winning the support of Rep. Collins is a major victory for the 9/11 community.
The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (9/11 VCF). As discussed in recent blog posts, the 9/11 VCF is facing a funding crisis due to skyrocketing 9/11 cancer and death rates. The 9/11 VCF has been forced to cut awards by 50 to 70% in general, with some cuts as high as of 90 to 100%.
Due to this jurisdiction, the Never Forget the Heroes Act will be considered by the House Judiciary Committee. Approval by the House Judiciary Committee is a necessary step of the legislative process to pass the Act. As discussed in this blog post’s companion piece authored by Pitta & Baione founding partner Vito R. Pitta, the Committee will hold hearings on the Never Forget the Heroes Act on June 11, 2019. Heading into the hearing with the ranking Republican member’s sponsorship is of strategic value to the bill’s success. Rep. Collins is now one of only three Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to sponsor the Never Forget the Heroes Act. The other two co-sponsors are Ben Cline (VA-R) and Kelly Armstrong (ND-R). We are hoping more Republicans follow Rep. Collins’ lead in supporting the Never Forget the Heroes Act.
Here is the complete list of all House Judiciary Committee Members with their party affiliation and whether they sponsor the Act (shown as YES or NO).
Additionally, 9/11 responders and victims have historically struggled to gain support of Republican legislators- especially in the Senate. Currently, the Senate version of the Never Forget the Heroes Act still needs 14 co-sponsors for a majority. Republican support in the House should send a message to Republican Senators. As shown above, only three out of seventeen Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee have agreed to sponsor the Act. We are hoping all undeclared Representative and Senators are compelled to support the Never Forget the Heroes Act after the June 11, 2019 hearing.
The Judiciary Committee is chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who has been a staunch advocate for the 9/11 community for well over a decade. Rep. Nadler helped lead the charge for passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, and its 2015 reauthorization. Once again, Rep. Nadler is helping to spearhead passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act since its introduction on February 25, 2019.
We applaud Rep. Collins’ sponsorship of the Never Forget the Heroes Act and support of 9/11 responders and survivors who are facing a devastating health crisis with a funding shortage to boot.
Click here to find out if your Member of Congress sponsors the Never Forget the Heroes Act. If they do, thank them. If they don’t urge them to.