Father Mychal Judge Bill is Now Law!

Jun 23, 2002 Issues: 9/11 Attacks

WASHINGTON - Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is praising President George W. Bush today for signing into law a piece of legislation that will ensure that designated beneficiaries of fallen public safety officers can receive a one-time, $250,000  Federal payment.  The President signed the “Mychal Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefit Act of 2002" sponsored by Reps. Donald Manzullo (R-IL) and Nadler, in the House of Representatives.

“A gap in the old law essentially created a group of ‘second-class’ heros, whose survivors didn’t get the Federal benefit that they should have,” said Rep. Nadler.  “Today, the President has joined every elected official in the House and Senate in declaring ‘All those who make the supreme sacrifice will be treated equally by the United States government.’  He is to be commended.”

The new law was passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote, and the Senate counterpart, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), passed the Senate unanimously.

Before the law was signed, Federal benefits were only paid out to spouses, children, and parents of fallen officers.  For Father Mychal Judge, a FDNY Chaplain who died while administering last rites to other fallen officers, and several other public safety officers who died on Sept. 11th  like him, no survivor benefits were paid out because they had no living parents, spouses, or children.  They may, however, have had a designated beneficiary under their life insurance plans. Those beneficiaries now will receive the benefit payment.

“This bill, all along, was a simple matter of fairness,” said Rep. Nadler.  “I am pleased that the President saw it as such, as well, and thought our piece of legislation was worthy of being the law of the land.  This new law is one of the most important things we can do to make sure that all of America’s Heros are treated equally.”

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992.  He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, including the site where the World Trade Center once stood.