NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on 9/11 fund

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on 9/11 fund:The concern I’m going to raise is really a call to be conscious for everyone in the federal government. ”

NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – H. Nazan Işık – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill hold a press conference on Wednesday on crime statistics for the month of September. But Mayor de Blasio started his remarks with “I want to talk about another issue that’s very much on the minds of all of us and all New Yorkers. And I want to frame it by saying this, this is going to be a very bipartisan statement because the concern I’m going to raise is really a call to be conscious for everyone in the federal government – for the President, for the Senate, for the House, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio talked about 9/11 Fund on Wednesday, October 3 at an unrelated press conference at One Police Plaza. (H. Nazan Işık)

The issue was the ‘September 11th Victim Compensation Fund’ (VCF). “The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) was created to provide compensation for any individual (or a personal representative of a deceased individual) who suffered physical harm or was killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or the debris removal efforts that took place in the immediate aftermath of those crashes.” says “VCF.gov” website. It was created to compensate the health problems and health-care costs for first responders, rescue workers, volunteers, survivors of the attacks and also residents who lived nearby, who have become sick since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, The original VCF operated from 2001-2004.

In 2011, President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (Zadroga Act), which provided federal funding for the program. The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act —named after a first responder, New York Police Department Detective James Zadroga, who died in 2006 — was first passed in 2010 and created the WTC Health Program which provided treatment for 9/11-related illnesses including sinusitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), mental health conditions and various cancers. The Act also reopened the VCF until October 2016.

After lobbying from and rallies by officials and Sept. 11 survivors President Obama signed into law a bill on December 18, 2015, reauthorizing the Act, which extends the VCF for five years, allowing individuals to submit their claims until December 18, 2020.

“Well, this is going to be the moment of truth because we have learned about a very painful reality that has now been confirmed publicly that the fund that was set up for victims and survivors is running out of money and it is set to expire in 2020, and that is unacceptable,” said Mr. de Blasio.

On Wednesday, October 3, a notice in the Federal Register, a daily publication of the US federal government, which publishes government notices and documents, said that current projections, using data as of August 31, 2018, suggest a possibility that the VCF, which was funded with  $7.375 billion in federal funds, may be insufficient to compensate all claims.

Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya said, “We have more than $3 billion in funding remaining with just under two-and-a-half years left to go. There is no immediate funding crisis. However, there is concern among some groups that the VCF may run short of funding, [….] although I have not made any formal determination that funding may be insufficient.”

Mayor de Blasio: “All those first responders who were sickened have depended on the federal government to be there for them.”

“This fund must be made permanent. There must be enough money to take care of those who served us all so valiantly, put their lives on the line, and are paying the price for it right now.” and asked the federal government to provide more money to the fund.

“And I want you to know that we are going to demand that Congress do the right thing. We’re going to shine a light on those who do the right thing and those who don’t,” said Mr. De Blasio.

And continued without going into detail about how and what “I am going to make sure that all of the resources of this city are brought to bear to honor those who sacrificed so much and do all we can for them.”

(Photo: © H. Nazan Işık / NKENdiKEN)

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