Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the Never Forget The Heroes Act

July 12, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 1327, the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alverez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.   Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his kind remarks and for his tremendous leadership.  From the first minutes of the assault on our country, Mr. Nadler – Mr. Chairman Nadler – was there – was there to meet the needs of our country as we protected, but also to meet the needs of those who rushed in to save lives.

I want to also salute Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who wore a firefighter’s jacket through the heat of the summer, now but all spring, until this bill was brought up on the Floor.  And I thank her for her, not only for wearing the jacket, but for her relentless, persistent advocacy on behalf of our 9/11 heroes.

And, I’m so proud that this time this bill is bipartisan, and I thank the distinguished gentleman, Mr. King from New York, for his leadership, for his recognition of the bipartisan nature of what we’re doing – what we did then and what we’re doing now.  And, thank you for your leadership, Mr. King, as well.

It is the Never Forget The Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Act – a big name, a tall order, long overdue.

When we talk about 9/11, we tread on sacred ground.  On that dark day, our nation suffered a loss we could not have ever imagined and we witnessed heroism that we will never forget.

Because of our heroes, 9/11 is etched in our nation’s history, not only as a day of profound loss and tragedy, but also a day of powerful unity and resilience.  On September 11th and its aftermath, our brave first responders were there for us.  We must always be there for them.

The Never Forget The Heroes Act takes long overdue action to provide financial security and support that 9/11 heroes, survivors and families deserve.

Today, we are honored to take this action to ensure that all people suffering from illnesses related to 9/11 or by the debris removal and cleanup efforts in the aftermath, and their families get the full rewards they have been promised.

It’s critically important we restore the compensation to those hit by the drastic, unfair cuts and ensure their claims will be fully paid in the future.  One of the reasons we have to have this additional legislation is because there are so many more diagnoses of cancer and the rest that have followed.

This bill honors the heroes after which it is named: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez.  Those heroes showed courage beyond measure, not only by running toward danger that day, but by giving their last days to fight for all harmed on 9/11.

We are blessed with the presence of members of their families and other advocates including first responders suffering from 9/11-related illnesses here in the Capitol today.  They have done the outside organizing as we did the inside maneuvering.  They have made the complete difference.

And, I thank Jon Stewart for raising the profile of this issue so that when we pass the bill here today, it will be received positively by the United States Senate.

Two weeks ago, as we all knew – know, America lost Luis Alvarez, an NYPD detective and advocate who died from 9/11-related cancer.

It was a holy moment for us when he testified before Congress last month, before he was scheduled to receive his 60th round of chemo.  He said then, ‘Congress said that you would never forget.  I’m here to make sure that you don’t.’

With this bill, we honor the sacrifice of him and many other heroes, and say we will never forget.

I urge a strong, overwhelming bipartisan vote for this bill for our responders, survivors and their families.  And do so with eternal gratitude to them for what they have done.

With that, Madam Speaker, I urge a yes vote and yield back the balance of my time.