Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) released the following statement following the passage of H.R. 1327, the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.

“Today, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation to permanently reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. I am so proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill and to vote for it on the House floor” said Hayes. “This vital fund honors the brave men and women who came to our rescue on one of our darkest days.”

Earlier this year, the Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund announced that, due to a lack of secure funding, injured and ill first responders and survivors would be receiving a cut to awards that they are expecting. In the nearly 20 years since September 11th, many responders and survivors have become sick and many have lost their lives from exposure to the toxic burning chemicals, pulverized drywall, and powdered cement present at Ground Zero, the Shanksville Crash Site, and the Pentagon. For the past several years, Congress has passed legislation to provide medical monitoring and treatment through the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and compensation through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). A 2015 reauthorization made the health program essentially permanent, authorizing the program through 2090. However, the bill only provided a 5-year extension of the VCF, setting it to expire in 2020. It is imperative that funding for the VCF is extended through 2090 to match the WTCHP.

“I look forward to the Senate swiftly passing this bill and sending it to the President’s desk for his signature. These heroes need our help right now. We can no longer delay permanently authorizing this funding.”