Weekly Democratic Address
July 13, 2019
Hi, I’m Carolyn Maloney, and I have the privilege of representing parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in the United States Congress.
So many of us know exactly where we were and what we were doing when we learned our nation was under attack – that planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and that an incredible group of heroes brought down a third plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania that was heading straight to Washington, DC.
September 11th, 2001 is a day that defined a generation and forever changed our nation.
We remember the images of the tens of thousands of firefighters, police officers, federal and local law enforcement officers, medical workers, construction workers and other heroes who responded, without hesitation, when they heard the news.
They put aside all thoughts of self and rushed to Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site. And they began to dig through the smoking ruins looking for survivors, and then, for months afterwards – searching for the lost and helping us recover.
It has now been almost eighteen years since that attack on our country and the death toll from that day continues to climb.
9/11 first responders and survivors are now dealing with the long-term health consequences of working, living and going to school around those toxic crash sites – day in and day out. Many have died. More are seriously ill – and the number of diagnoses grows each day.
Though Congress has already made the World Trade Center Health Program permanent, the Victim Compensation Fund for these responders, survivors and victims’ families will expire in 2020. And to make matters worse, the fund is running out of money.
That is why the House just passed the Never Forget the Heroes Act, to make permanent and fully fund the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
If you remember 9/11, you remember that we as a nation vowed to “never forget.”
That we made a commitment to those men and women – a solemn promise that they would never have to go without the support they needed or wonder if support would be there for their families when they are gone.
These are remarkable people who did not hesitate in the hour when we needed them most.
These are people who believed their government when the government told them that the air was safe. And so, with every breath they took of that toxic dust-filled air, their personal odds grew worse and the danger to their health increased.
We now have a moral obligation as a nation to take care of them. First and foremost, because of their sacrifices for this country and, secondly, because of the terrible, toxic lie our government told them.
I have worked on this issue for eighteen years now. Working with first responders, survivors and their families to make sure they have the health care and financial security they need and deserve.
And our House Majority is For the People – for the people who live every day with the weight and pain of 9/11, which is why we will not rest until this bill becomes law.
I’ve grown close with many of them and I say this with love: I hope none of them ever have to come to Congress again. This program needs to be made permanent, and it needs to happen now.
I hope the Senate will take up our bill immediately. These families cannot afford to wait.
“Never forget” has no meaning if it’s just a campaign slogan or a bumper sticker or a hashtag. It only has meaning if it comes with a real commitment – a commitment that ensures that our first responders, survivors and their families will never have to go without the support they urgently need – the support they have so valiantly earned.
I promise House Democrats will not forget and will not rest until our nation has fully and faithfully honored that commitment. It is the least we can do as a grateful nation.