The state House recently approved a resolution, authored by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), urging Congress to pass legislation that would offer funding to thousands of Americans who suffered health effects from the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Known as the “Never Forget the Heroes Act,” U.S. House Resolution 1327 would fully fund and permanently reauthorize the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides financial support for 9/11 first responders, survivors and their families.
As of 2018, there are more than 90,000 Americans struggling with 9/11-related illnesses, including approximately 1,500 residing in Pennsylvania.
“The phrase ‘never forget’ is more than just a symbol of remembrance. Families across the United States continue to suffer every day from the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11,” said Farry. “It is our responsibility to ensure their losses are not forgotten and they are justly compensated for their sacrifices on one of the most tragic days in American history.”
Farry’s House Resolution 343, numbered for the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy, sends a message to Washington on behalf of the thousands of victims suffering in Pennsylvania.
“We are letting Congress know that Pennsylvania stands by its 9/11 heroes and their families,” Farry said. “We cannot turn our backs on these men and women who sacrificed so much that day and those who worked in the rubble to recover the remains of the fallen.”
Prior to House passage of Farry’s resolution, Rep. Joseph Ciresi (D-Montgomery) spoke about how his late brother worked across the street from the World Trade Center for more than 25 years and recently lost his battle with cancer. His brother received support from the VCF, and Ciresi noted how important the fund is to victims and their families.
In 2015, the VCF was reauthorized until December 2020. In total, the fund was appropriated $7.3 billion since it was opened. The fund has already paid out $5 billion to 21,000 claimants, leaving approximately $2.3 billion for the remaining 19,000 unpaid claimants.
The December 2020 deadline, coupled with increasing claims from family members of loved ones who recently passed away and cancer latency periods linked to the 9/11 attacks, has created a surge in claims. As a result, the remaining 19,000 unpaid claimants will see a payout cut by 50 percent for some and 70 percent for others, if Congress fails to act on House Resolution 1327.
Copies of Farry’s House Resolution 343 will be transmitted to the President of the United States, the presiding officers of each house of Congress and to each member of the Congress from Pennsylvania.