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West Haven News

Posted on: July 15, 2019

Blumenthal urges passage of 9/11 victim fund

Blumenthal Urges Passage of 911 Fund 009 (002) (Small)

PHOTO — During a news conference Monday, July 15, at West Haven Fire Department headquarters, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., calls on the Senate to pass legislation that would make permanent the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and remove any limits on the fund’s appropriation. Joining Blumenthal are, from left, state Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven; Lou DeMici, secretary of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut; state Rep. Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven; West Haven Fire Chief James P. O’Brien; Lou Esposito, executive assistant to Mayor Nancy R. Rossi; and New Haven Fire Chief John A. Alston Jr. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

WEST HAVEN, July 15, 2019 — During a news conference Monday, July 15, at West Haven Fire Department headquarters, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called for the passage of legislation that would make permanent the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and remove any limits on the fund’s appropriation.

Standing with state officials, 9/11 first responders, and members of the West Haven and New Haven fire departments and the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, Blumenthal demanded an immediate vote by the Senate after the bipartisan measure was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, July 12.

“This cause is bipartisan and is national in scope,” said Blumenthal, adding that he is hopeful for a Senate vote in August.

The VCF provides compensation for any individual who suffered physical harm or was killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of Sept. 11, 2001, or the debris removal efforts that took place in the aftermath of those crashes.

Joining Blumenthal for the announcement were Lou Esposito, executive assistant to Mayor Nancy R. Rossi; state Reps. Michael A. DiMassa and Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven; West Haven Fire Chief James P. O’Brien; New Haven Fire Chief John A. Alston Jr.; UPFFA Secretary Lou DeMici; and John Dye, of New Haven, the father of a 9/11 first responder.

Esposito, who represented Rossi, said the mayor was unable to attend because of the impending birth of her grandchild.

The VCF has already approved 22,323 claims for survivors and their families for physical injuries as a result of their involvement at New York’s ground zero, including exposure to toxins.

Dye’s son, Michael Dye, a 20-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, has brain cancer and is a VCF recipient. A detective in his early 50s, he is retiring from the force later this year.

According to the most recent VCF report, there have been 366 claims filed by individuals living in Connecticut, with 136 individuals living in the state already receiving funds.

With the VCF set to expire in 2020, thousands of survivors will not be fully compensated for their injuries and illnesses without swift action, said Blumenthal, who was also joined at the morning news conference by more than a dozen firefighters and commissioners from the Elm Street department, which serves the First Fire Taxation District, also known as the Center District, along with chiefs from the West Shore Fire Department and the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown.

Blumenthal fought for the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act in 2015, which made the World Trade Center Health Program permanent and reauthorized the VCF through 2020.

Because of an increase in claims, however, the VCF is close to running out of money, Blumenthal said, forcing benefits to be cut by 50% to 70% to ensure that all eligible individuals receive an award.

O’Brien is among 35 West Haven firefighters who served at ground zero after 9/11 and now participate in the WTC program, which ensures proper medical treatment and monitoring of more than 33,000 first responders and survivors who have 9/11-related illnesses.

Of the 35 firefighters, 23 are from the West Haven Fire Department, seven are from the West Shore Fire Department, and five are from the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown, O’Brien said.

Alston, who responded to ground zero as a member of the Jersey City (New Jersey) Fire Department, also participates in the WTC program.

Last Congress, Blumenthal was an original co-sponsor of the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, which would permanently reauthorize and finance the VCF as well as provide benefits to those who saw them reduced as a result of the current funding shortfall.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator

Blumenthal Urges Passage of 911 Fund 009 (002) (Small)

During a news conference Monday, July 15, at West Haven Fire Department headquarters, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., calls on the Senate to pass legislation that would make permanent the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and remove any limits on the fund’s appropriation. Joining Blumenthal are, from left, state Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven; Lou DeMici, secretary of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut; state Rep. Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven; West Haven Fire Chief James P. O’Brien; Lou Esposito, executive assistant to Mayor Nancy R. Rossi; and New Haven Fire Chief John A. Alston Jr. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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