Menendez Calls GOP Stonewalling of 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund an ‘Abomination’

Menendez Calls GOP Stonewalling of 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund an ‘Abomination’

Menendez wrote the original Zadroga Act to create the VCF Senate Republican Majority Leader has consistently blocked legislation to permanently fund the VCF

 

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today, the author of the original Zadroga Act, which opened up the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to first responders, slammed Republicans in the Senate for turning their backs on heroic 9/11 first responders and continuing to slow-walk efforts to fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) because of its cost.

“It is an abomination for this to be held up,” said Sen. Menendez. “What we’re going to do is to try and shame our Republican colleagues, as we’ve had to do in the past, to get a vote to fully fund the compensation fund.”

“This is how a grateful nation responds,” Sen. Menendez said of permanently funding the VCF. “It’s not just by saying thank you and hailing our first responders as champions – you have to take care of them. And yes, we funded the VCF before but those funds have not met the challenge. If you’ve already made a public policy commitment, then that commitment must continue.”

Earlier this year, Sen. Menendez co-sponsored the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act to provide permanent compensation to family members of first responders and survivors who became disabled or died due to 9/11 related illnesses. The fund is set to expire in 2020 but is already running out of money. In February, the fund announced it would be slashing payments to sick responders and their families by more than 50% because of the growing number of death and cancer claims. 

Under Republican control, the Senate never took up the bill. Earlier this week, the legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee and will soon be voted on by the full House.

The Zadroga Act is named after New Jersey native James Zadroga, a New York City Police detective who was the first 9/11 responder to die as a result of illness caused by the toxins at Ground Zero.

Nearly 10,000 first responders have been diagnosed with cancer and over 2,000 deaths can be attributed to illnesses caused by the attacks. 

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