Pushing for Reauthorization
VCF Advocates Intensify Lobbying In Congress
Even as the nation’s capital was caught up in the frenzy over the Mueller Report, advocates for the reauthorization of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund were working the corridors of Congress to advance their cause.
“In a way, the distraction of the Mueller Report was a welcomed opportunity for us because we had the full attention of the administrative assistants who we met with,” said Michael Barasch, the attorney for the late NYPD Detective James Zadroga, for whom the original World Trade Center health-and-compensation bill was named.
Already Reduced Payouts
Last year, Rupa Bhattacharyya, the Special Master for the 9/11 VCF, announced that as a consequence of a dramatic spike in the number of 9/11 wrongful-death and WTC-related cancer claims, the $7.3-billion fund would have to greatly reduce the size of its payouts. Without reauthorization, the program is slated to close late next year.
“We are getting 50 percent of what everybody else was getting with exactly the same cancer before Feb. 1,” Mr. Barasch said in a phone interview. “Colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, that were all getting $250,000 before Feb. 1, are now getting $125,000—even if their case had been pending for well over a year. This is hitting our police and fire widows as well.”