Schumer Remarks Following Senate Passage Of Permanent Authorization For The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

July 23, 2019

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke at a press conference with 9/11 first responders, survivors, and their families following the Senate 97-2 vote to pass the legislation to permanently extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Below are his remarks, which can also be found here.

“Thank you Senator Gillibrand, and let me thank you for the amazing job you have done. She worked the floor endlessly, getting names that we never thought, like Cotton and Cruz, who could be on this bill. And the proof of the pudding of the great job she did, and all the people behind me did, is said in two numbers: 97 and 2. 97 and 2. Righteousness sometimes, sometimes, in this mangled town, sometimes prevails. And thank God: today it did. 

“I want to thank all the people who Kirsten thanked, most of all all the folks behind us. Now they can do what they want to do. They never wanted to come here. They would've rather been with their families, with their brothers and sisters who they knew were ill. With their friends, ministering, caring, as our first responders are trained to do and have always done, not just on 9/11 but on every day. And now they can go back and do what they really wanted to do. They didn't want to be here. They didn't like being here. But they had a sense of duty, and nevertheless they persisted. And we've achieved this goal. 

“I'd like to say particularly: we have great 21st century heroes, whose names are Zadroga and Pfeifer and Alvarez. And I’d say to the Zadroga and Pfeifer and Alvarez families—many of whom are here—your losses, painful as they are, are not in vain, as today shows. The men you lost, and all the others, did what the Bible says we should all do: Not curse the darkness, but light a candle. And today that candle burns very, very brightly. 

“So, to all of our friends who made this happen, for all of us who now breathe one gigantic sigh of relief, particularly the men and women behind me: thank you. These are tough times for America. Sometimes we doubt its goodness. And it’s awfully hard to have that goodness shine through, but today it did. Thank God it did. Let it be a beacon to everyone else. 

“I put on this flag: 9/12/01, I wear it every day. It represented close to 3,000 people who were lost, and unfortunately every day this flag represents more people. But we will never take it off, as long as there are brave people who stood up for us, and this flag, and all flags will remind us that we have to stand up for them.”