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PROBLEM SOLVERS CAUCUS FORMALLY SUPPORTS THE "NEVER FORGET THE HEROES ACT," PUSHES FOR PRIORITY CONSIDERATION ON HOUSE FLOOR UNDER NEW HOUSE 290 “CONSENSUS CALENDAR” RULE

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Washington, D.C., March 19, 2019 | comments

Today, the Problem Solvers Caucus, Co-Chaired by Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) and Tom Reed (NY-23), voted to formally endorse the Never Forget the Heroes Act, which will extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and restore full benefits to victims. The Caucus' action, led by members Max Rose (NY-11) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), adds more than 40 co-sponsors to the bill as the Caucus pushes to utilize the 290 cosponsor “Consensus Calendar” provision of the House rules to achieve priority consideration on the House floor for the first time.

This priority consideration provision was part of the deal struck between members of the Problem Solvers Caucus Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern to change the House rules, break the gridlock in Washington and make it easier for bipartisan bills to pass.

On February 15, 2019, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund announced that injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors will receive cuts to the awards that they were expecting cuts of 50% for pending claims and 70% for future claims. 

“On 9/11, our first responders ran directly into danger when others ran out. They are heroes and need our help. I'm proud that Members of both parties from across the country have managed to put politics aside and support America's patriots,” said Representative Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.  

“We care about remembering the legacy of the lost and the heroism of so many on that fateful day, said Representative Tom Reed (NY-23), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. “Therefore, it only makes sense we are using the 290 Rule for the first time, allowing priority consideration on the House floor as we develop the muscle memory to achieve bipartisan victories and pass fair laws to help people.”

“9/11 was an attack on our entire country. This was an attack on the United States of America and everything that we stand for. But what thousands of these 9/11 heroes and their families now face is being forgotten. Because the Victim Compensation Fund—which supports these families and heroes in all 50 states—is running out of money and cutting benefits from 50 to 70 percent. That’s wrong, yet I’m encouraged by the broad and growing bipartisan support towards making this right,” said Representative Max Rose (NY-11).

“Congress has the moral obligation to fight for the first responders who answered the call on 9/11,” said Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). “I am proud to support the Never Forget the Heroes Act with members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and to stand in solidarity with those who sacrificed to protect fellow Americans.”

 “The Problem Solvers Caucus has come together to provide more than 40 bipartisan cosponsors in support of the “Never Forget the Heroes Act,” because this issue has nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican. It is about doing the right thing. Tens of thousands of heroic 9/11 first responders are diagnosed with cancer, getting sick, or dying every year because of their exposure to Ground Zero toxins. We are morally obligated to stand with them,” said Representative Tom Suozzi (NY-03).

“Support is widespread for extending the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and I’m proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle today in announcing our support of the Never Forget the Heroes Act," said Representative John Katko (NY-24). “The heroes, first responders, and survivors of the horrific terror attack on September 11, 2001 deserve the best possible care.  Congress must act to prevent devastating benefit cuts and make the Victim Compensation Fund permanent.”

"On 9/11 our first responders selflessly put their lives on the line to save others. Too many first responders are battling the health effects of exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, with some just now beginning to see symptoms. Our heroes and their families deserve the very best medical care, and it should simply not be an option to let resources for the 9/11 Compensation Fund fall short. I thank Congressman Rose and Congressman Fitzpatrick and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to get this done," said Representative Anthony Brindisi (NY-22).

“I am proud to back our heroic first responders and ensure ‘Never Forget’ translates to real action rather than tweets,” said Representative Dean Phillips (MN-03). “They placed their health and safety at risk when our nation was in peril and deserve our heartfelt admiration and support.”

“The sacrifices our country’s finest first responders made didn’t end on September 11, 2001. Ever since, they have continued to face health challenges from the toxic dust released as the towers fell,” said Representative Susie Lee (NV-03). “The least we can do is honor their commitment by providing them with the best possible care to treat the medical conditions they face. I’m proud that we, as a group of bipartisan lawmakers, are making this a priority and introducing this bill to restore benefits for our nation’s heroes.”

Under the new House rules, once a bill reaches 290 co-sponsors, a 25 legislative day clock will begin.  If the primary committee of jurisdiction does not report the bill by the end of the 25 legislative days, the legislation will be placed on the new “Consensus Calendar” where it will remain until the bill is considered.  For every in-session week, after February 28th of the First Session and before September 30th of the Second Session, majority leadership will be required to bring at least one bill on the “Consensus Calendar” to the Floor. 

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