Maloney was the lead author of the legislation to fully reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Act and wore an FDNY turnout coat to all public appearances for months advocating for its passage. But when Trump signed the bill into law on Monday morning in the White House’s Rose Garden, Maloney was noticeably absent.
Her representative, however, said the absence was not Maloney’s choice.
“The Congresswoman did not receive an invite to today’s bill signing, nor did a staff member receive one on her behalf,” a Maloney spokeswoman said.
A White House official said, “All members of Congress were invited to today’s event.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a key sponsor of the bill, had a prior commitment preventing her attendance, according to a spokeswoman.
“It shouldn’t have taken this long to give our 9/11 heroes the permanent compensation program they deserve,” Gillibrand wrote on Twitter. “To everyone who worked on getting this passed: Thank you for your tireless work and dedication. And to our 9/11 first responders: Thank you will never be enough.”
There were 60 9/11 first responders and their families attending the Rose Garden signing ceremony including the family of the late NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, who was laid to rest at Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, in the Ditmars neighborhood where he was raised. Alvarez, 53, succumbed to 9/11-related cancer just weeks after his emotional testimony in Congress urging them to extend funding to cover the health benefits for first responders and survivors that was set to run out next year.
“Last month, his powerful testimony in Congress touched the heart of our nation. A few days later, he passed from this life into eternity,” Trump said. “And we are all grieving by your side. Our whole nation prays and pays tribute to the incredible life and legacy of Detective Alvarez, how hard he worked and how much he suffered.”
She may have been snubbed by the White House, but Maloney isn’t finished advocating for the 9/11 first responders.
The congresswoman sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio formally requesting he host a Canyon of Heroes parade to honor 9/11 responders and survivors.
“Let’s be clear; 9/11 was an attack on our nation, not just New York. Survivors live in all 50 states and 433 of 435 Congressional districts,” Maloney wrote. “But our city is unique in its 9/11 experience and I believe that, as our mayor, you can help all the whole nation say ‘thank you’ once again. It is a small but meaningful way to show our gratitude for the sacrifices they and their families made and continue to make each day. Moreover, this is an opportunity to demonstrate again our city’s and whole country’s resilience, rebuilding and recovery.”
Maloney added, “And each day, sadly, brings news of another funeral for one of the men or women who rushed to the aid of their fellow citizens and our country. Rather than wait for eulogies to honor their service, and the sacrifice of all 9/11 survivors, let us take this moment to celebrate their legacy of valor while they can be present to participate in it.”
The de Blasio administration welcomed the Maloney request.
“This is a great idea to honor our 9/11 first responders,” a de Blasio spokesman said. “We’ll be reaching out to families, first responders and advocates to put on a world class event to honor these heroes.”