Newsweek 6/14/19: The 9/11 VCF Should be Made Permanent

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Must Be Made Permanent—It’s the Least We Can Do | Opinion

On May 14, Candidus Henry died from glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer. His death added to the growing number of Americans killed by the September 11 attacks. He worked construction, and after the attacks he was assigned to Ground Zero, where he washed dust and cleaned debris off trucks as they left the pile of toxic rubble that once was the Twin Towers.

On Tuesday, June 11, his widow, Anesta Maria St. Rose Henry, testified in front of the House Committee on the Judiciary, sitting in front of two of their children, whom she is now raising alone. She told Congress about Candidus and the hole he left behind—a hole only made larger by the fact that, because her husband died last month instead of two years ago, she and her family will not receive a full award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

The VCF, created to provide financial support for 9/11 first responders, survivors and their families, is expiring next year, and, making matters worse, running out of money. The special master of the fund announced in February that because of a budget shortfall, they were forced to start cutting awards to these heroes by 50 to 70 percent to extend the fund’s life. The Henrys are one of the families devastated by this reduction.

And there are far too many stories like the Henrys’—of pain, suffering and illness.

NY Post 6/13/19: Now It is the Senate’s Duty to Move Fast on 9/11 Bill

Now it’s the Senate’s duty to move fast for hurting 9/11 heroes

Tuesday’s dramatic (and embarrassing, to the no-show members) testimony plainly did the trick: The House Judiciary Committee this week unanimously passed the bill to extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2090. It’s time for the Senate to get moving.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) will clearly pass the full House once it gets its official Congressional Budget Office fiscal-impact “score.” So any senators with doubts or questions should raise them now, so a fix can make it into law immediately.

The need is urgent: Because the fund is short of cash, it has had to slash by up to 70% of its payouts to cover the medical bills of workers exposed to toxins in post-9/11 rescue and cleanup operations.

Which is why cancer- and chemo-ravaged Detective Luis Alvarez felt compelled to head to DC to demand action.

The Senate may not want to sign on to renewing the fund for 70 years before looking at why it’s fallen so short of cash now. But it needs to authorize enough money right away to let full payouts resume.

And it needs to get on board with fast passage of a long-term fix so that the cash crunch doesn’t return — and so that no hurting hero like Alvarez ever again has to interrupt treatment to travel to Washington to demand simple justice.

Ending this disgrace needs to be a top priority for the Senate — starting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Vulture 6/11/19: Jon Stewart Yells at Congress for Ignoring 9/11 Responders

Jon Stewart Yelled at Members of Congress for Ignoring 9/11 First Responders

Jon Stewart in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 11. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

We don’t hear much anymore from Jon Stewart, the former Daily Show host whose regular “eviscerations” of deserving targets were once the subject of so many blog posts. But on Tuesday, he emerged for a moment from his comfortable retirement to lash out at Congress from inside the Capitol.

The occasion? The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is running out of money “and has had to slash payouts to ailing responders and survivors by more than half,” according to the Daily News. The fund, which was last reauthorized in 2015, set aside $7 billion to help cover the costs associated with post-9/11 illnesses. They’re costs that retired NYPD Bomb Squad Detective Louis Alvarez knows well. On Wednesday, he is set to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy for 9/11-linked cancer. On Tuesday, he told the committee, “It is my goal and my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders.”

Stewart, who has long used his platform to advocate on behalf of 9/11 first responders, spoke after Alvarez and began by criticizing the committee members who were not seated before him. According to CBS News, a “little over half of the 14-member subcommittee members were present, mostly Democrats.”

“I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” he said. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country and it’s a stain on this institution.”

NY Magazine 6/12/19: The Long Fight to Secure 9/11 First Responder Funding

9/11

A History of the Long Fight to Secure Funding for 9/11 First Responders

First responder Luis Alvarez pictured with Jon Stewart on Tuesday. Alvarez will soon begin his 69th round of chemotherapy for cancer related to his exposure at Ground Zero. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

On Tuesday, former Daily Show host and frequent advocate for 9/11 first responders Jon Stewart appeared before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, encouraging representatives to vote on Wednesday to re-up the funding of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. But Stewart, who appeared alongside World Trade Center emergency workers, became frustrated when only a little over half of the subcommittee members showed up.

“I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” he said. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one.”

Read more…

NY Times 6/12/19: How Jon Stewart Became Fierce Advocate for 9/11 Responders

How Jon Stewart Became a Fierce Advocate for 9/11 Responders

“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” the former “Daily Show” host told lawmakers on Capitol Hill for not funding health care for emergency personnel.

Jon Stewart, the comedian and former host of “The Daily Show,” became emotional on Tuesday while speaking on Capitol Hill about the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He called lawmakers who skipped the House hearing “an embarrassment to the country.”CreditCreditZach Gibson/Getty Images

Jon Stewart, speaking on Capitol Hill about the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, was not the cool, detached comedian that television viewers are accustomed to.

Instead, faced with empty seats as he spoke on Tuesday to a House Judiciary subcommittee about a bill to secure funding for ailing Sept. 11 victims, the former host of “The Daily Show” was outraged, at times pounding his fist on the table, shouting at lawmakers and choking up as he came close to tears.

“It’s an embarrassment to the country,” Mr. Stewart said, criticizing members of Congress for skipping the hearing.

“And you should be ashamed of yourselves,” he scolded.

Read more…

NY Post 6/12/19: House Panel Unanimously Passes 9/11 Fund Bill After Stewart Shaming

House panel unanimously passes 9/11 victims fund bill after Jon Stewart shaming

Jon Stewart shames lawmakers for not showing up to 9/11 victims fund hearing

WASHINGTON — The bill that permanently authorizes the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund passed out of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously on Wednesday.

The move comes a day after former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart shamed members of a Judiciary subcommittee, as only Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and four subcommittee members were present for testimony from 9/11 first responders.

They included Luis Alvarez, a retired NYPD detective who was about to begin his 69th round of chemotherapy for liver cancer. There are 14 members of the subcommittee.

“It’s an embarrassment to the country and a stain on the institution and you should be ashamed of yourselves, for those who aren’t here, but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber,” Stewart said Tuesday.

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Daily News 6/12/19: 9/11 VCF Bill Clears Committee, Headed for Full House Vote

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund clears committee, headed for full House vote

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund clears committee, headed for full House vote
Former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart, left, is pictured before testifying during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. The fund provides financial assistance to responders, victims and their families who require medical care related to health issues they suffered in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Congress took the first step Wednesday to finally remedy its slow-motion response to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, passing a bill out of committee that would permanently fund compensation for ailing survivors and first responders.

“We have asked so much of our 9/11 responders and survivors. We relied on them to rush to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon under horrible conditions,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn).

“It is time for us to give responders and survivors peace of mind, once and for all, and pass this long-term reauthorization to ensure the [fund] will be there for them as long as they need it,” he said.

Read more…

Newsweek 6/11/19: Congress Has Duty to Help 9/11 Heroes

Congress has a duty to help our ailing 9/11 heroes

Detective Luis Alvarez’s heart-wrenching words Tuesday ought to settle the question immediately: Congress has a clear and urgent duty to replenish the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund.

Gaunt and rail-thin, the former NYPD cop testified: “I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else.”

This is not “a New York matter,” as many in the House and Senate seem to think, but a stain on the nation’s honor.

The fund helps cover the costs, mainly medical, suffered by the firefighters, cops, construction workers, etc., who spent weeks in the post-9/11 recovery and cleanup effort.

Just as the terrorists attacked America on that day, these Ground Zero workers served the entire nation in the months that followed. Even as the fires burned on into December, they searched and cleared the wreckage, leaving the site ready for reconstruction and the country able to begin to heal.

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NPR 6/11/19: Jon Stewart Shames Lawmakers in Hearing for 9/11 Fund

Jon Stewart Blasts Lawmakers In Hearing For Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund

 

Jon Stewart testifies during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. EST

Comedian Jon Stewart slammed representatives on Tuesday at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, saying it was “shameful” that more of them did not attend.

“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart said in his statement. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders; and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.”

Rep. Steve Cohen noted that the hearing was held before the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties and not the full committee.

“All these empty chairs, that’s because it’s for the full committee. It’s not because of disrespect or lack of attention to you,” the Tennessee Democrat said.

The hearing came just hours before the full House was set to vote on a civil contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Stewart spoke alongside Luis Alvarez, a retired detective and 9/11 responder from the New York Police Department who has cancer linked to the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath.

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Washington Post 6/12/19: Jon Stewart Blasts Congress about 9/11 Victims’ Fund

‘You should be ashamed of yourselves’: Watch Jon Stewart tear into Congress over 9/11 victims fund

Jon Stewart admonishes Congress over 9/11 victim fund

Comedian Jon Stewart slammed Congress on June 11 for “ignoring” 9/11 first responders. (C-SPAN)

June 12

Comedian Jon Stewart took members of Congress to task on Tuesday, blasting part of the House Judiciary Committee for its low attendance at a hearing about reauthorizing funding for people with diseases linked to the 9/11 crash sites.

Congress created the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to help anyone injured or sickened in the attacks or in the response process.

“As I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to,” Stewart told a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress.”

The House Judiciary Committee later voted unanimously to support a bill extending the Victim Compensation Fund. The full House is scheduled to vote on the bill next month. It is expected to pass in the House, but its fate in the Senate is unclear.

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