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9/11 VCF Signing is a Victory That Belongs to First Responders

Following this morning’s presidential bill signing ceremony, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) said the permanent renewal of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is an accomplishment that belongs to victims and survivors, first responders, and tireless advocates who long fought to pass the bill into law.

The newly renamed Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, will reauthorize the fund through 2090.

IAVA CEO Jeremy Butler said:

“Today belongs to first responders and activists like John Feal, James Zadroga, Luis Alvarez and Ray Pfeifer, whose tireless advocacy made this victory possible. Today belongs to the brave men and women – too many of whom were lost before we could declare victory – who consistently held lawmakers accountable to the survivors of 9/11 who need and deserve care.

“IAVA was proud to stand with this broad coalition of heroes and patriots as we pushed Congress for the permanent reauthorization of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund this year. After relentless advocacy, today marks the end to eighteen years of political uncertainty and represents a promise to our first responders that we will never forget the sacrifices made at Ground Zero.

“Today we celebrate, but tomorrow we get back to work – and back to the business of ensuring that all service members and first responders get the representation, recognition, and responsiveness from their government that they rightfully deserve.”

More than 400,000 people have applied to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which covers medical benefits for 9/11-related illnesses. The current law was renewed in 2015 and set to sunset in 2020, but the U.S. Justice Department announced in February that the fund was insufficient to cover all claims and that benefit payments would be cut by up to seventy percent. Today’s reauthorization will help address claims for injuries, deaths, and health issues connected to the World Trade Center site for the next seventy years, through 2090. There are more than 21,000 claims pending.

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