When September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya saw the ever-growing numbers of people felled by illnesses caused by exposure to the toxic air at the World Trade Center, she had no choice but to reduce the monetary awards, especially with the fund due to expire next year.
Worthy victims and heroes, from cops to firemen to welders, all who labored tirelessly on the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero when war came to America, will be left with far less than what Bhattacharyya believes they are due from their government.
The answer is to make the fund permanent and fully finance it. And here, there is some hope amid the spreading disease and death. The permanent authorization bill, called Never Forget the Heroes, is approaching 300 bipartisan House sponsors. Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, who represents the WTC site, has set a June 11 hearing on the measure.
He’ll be joined that day by Doug Collins of Colorado, the ranking Republican on the panel. And while there has been and will be a great deal of fighting on party lines in the committee on other matters, on this — on honoring the duty and sacrifice of those who suffered on 9/11 — there is unity. Nadler is a sponsor of the bill and so is Collins.