June 20, 2019/Press

“I Did My Job … We Need Our Politicians to Stand Up.” Why Hasn’t Senator Tillis Signed on to 9/11 Responders Bill?

Raleigh – First responders from across the country, including several now living in North Carolina, are urging the U.S. Senate – including Senators Tillis and Burr – to pass a new 9/11 first responders compensation bill to help victims and families of victims of 9/11 with ongoing medical issues. So far, Senator Tillis has refused, only offering vague platitudes that he’ll “review and consider it” when it comes to the Senate.

In a new report from CBS17, Raleigh-area first responders expressed their frustration with a do-nothing Republican Senate, saying they are “upset” with North Carolina’s senators and Washington for not quickly authorizing the bill.

“It makes me feel upset. I did my job, and I would do it again, and that’s why we need our politicians to stand up and recognize what needs to be done,” one former first responder said. “We’re not asking for anything for ourselves. We’re asking for our families,” another added.

The fund is expected to pass the U.S. House of Representatives, but “its fate isn’t as clear” in the Republican Senate. No vote has been scheduled, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t yet committed to scheduling one. Senator Tillis is being equally weak, refusing to tell first responders who sacrificed their health that he will support and help push this bill forward for fear of crossing Senator McConnell and his Washington Republican backers.

“What more does Senator Tillis need to consider? These North Carolinians put their lives on the line to serve our country, and instead of jumping at the opportunity to help them, Senator Tillis is holding them at arm’s length,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Senators Tillis and McConnell need to stop playing political games and support our first responders.”


CBS17: Local retired police officers, survivors looking for 9/11 related compensation for their families
By Colleen Quigley
June 19, 2019

Key Points:

  • Local retired police officers, who responded to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, are asking for help for their families future.


  • Ernest Long, Robert Young and Daniel Gravius want Congress to pass a bill to permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, part of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.


  • “I see the guys that I stood next to are not here anymore and girls.  Numerous of those guys aren’t here anymore because they’ve passed, died from cancer-related to what we did that day or days after, or months later or years later,” said Young. “We’re not asking for anything for ourselves. We’re asking for our families.”


  • After retiring, all three men moved to North Carolina.


  • “We’ve done what we did for this country.  It had nothing to do with living in or being a New Yorker, or being from Washington DC or being from Pennsylvania.  It’s about being an American,” said Young.


  • The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, part of the Zadroga Act is up for renewal. The Justice Department says the fund is being depleted and benefit payments are being cut.


  • “Who is going to take care of my wife, my daughter if something were to happen to me,” said Gravius.


  • A bill to replenish the fund passed a House Panel but still needs to go before Congress. The men say they’ve reached out to Senator Richard Burr, and Senator Thom Tillis asking them to support it.


  • “It makes me feel upset. I did my job and I would do it again,” said Long.  “I think our politicians need to stand up and recognize what needs to be done.”