Smith Praises Passage of Federal ‘Fairness for 9/11 Families Act’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) praised the passage of the Fairness for 9/11 Families Act (HR 8987) by the House of Representatives that would provide financial relief to family members of victims killed in the September 11.

Smith called the legislation “long-overdue” step that would bring these families closers to justice.

“For two decades, I have worked with the ‘Jersey Girls’—four widows who tragically lost their husbands in the horrific attacks—to achieve justice for the victims, families, and first responders of 9/11,” said Smith. “It is due to their determination, their strength of spirit, and their persistence that this bill is before the House today.”

The bipartisan legislation would provide lump sum catch-up payments to immediate family members of 9/11 victims who were unjustly barred from the United States Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism (USVSST) Fund due to a technicality.

In 2015, Congress created the USVSST Fund to provide compensation to Americans injured in acts of international state-sponsored terrorism.

Despite the obvious connection to the 9/11 surviving family members, a misinterpretation of the law by the Fund’s Special Master unjustly barred spouses and children of 9/11 victims from participating in the fund. As a result, in 2021, at the behest of Congress, the Government Accountability Office conducted an investigation and found 5,364 victims, spouses, and dependents were excluded from fair restitution.

“Kathy Wisniewski, who works on my staff and lost her husband, Alan; Kristen Breitweiser; Mindy Klinberg; Lorie Van Auken; Kathy Maher and her sons Joseph and Daniel; and the next generation of 9/11 Family advocates including Angela Mistruli and Brett Eagleson who lost parents on 9/11, were the driving force in achieving this modicum of justice for thousands of 9/11 family members,” Smith said.

Smith Praises Passage of Federal ‘Fairness for 9/11 Families Act’ | Hamilton/Robbinsville, NJ News TAPinto