WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin voted for the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, bipartisan legislation she cosponsored to make the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund permanent.
“It is disgraceful that Congress made 9/11 first responders work so hard to get Washington to simply do the right thing. Many 9/11 first responders have died waiting for action from Congress and many more are sick today. For years, I have worked to permanently reauthorize this program to provide our 9/11 heroes with the health care they need and deserve. Now that Congress is finally taking action, we are fulfilling our moral obligation to 9/11 first responders and doing right by them,” said Senator Baldwin.
In 2001, first responders came to Ground Zero in New York city from all over the country to aid in the response to the 9-11 attacks. In the years since, thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors have become ill and many have lost their lives from exposure to a toxic cocktail of burning chemicals, pulverized drywall and powdered cement that was present at Ground Zero.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Senator Baldwin was part of a nearly decade long fight to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010 that created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program. In 2015, Senator Baldwin introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act to permanently extend these programs, however, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was only extended until 2020.
On February 15, 2019, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund announced that due to a funding shortfall, injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors would receive cuts to the awards that they were expecting of 50% for pending claims and 70% for future claims.
Senator Baldwin cosponsored the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, led by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), which ensures that all 9/11 first responders and survivors who have been injured by the toxins at Ground Zero and have certified 9/11 illnesses receive their full awards now and into the future.