Heard on the Hill

Carolyn Maloney pledged to wear a firefighters’ jacket until her 9/11 bill passes. Then she left it in her office

Congresswoman is seeking permanent compensation fund for 9/11 victims

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., arrives for the House Democrats' caucus meeting Tuesday morning in a blue blazer that is clearly not part of a fireman's uniform. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On any other day, the royal blue blazer that Rep. Carolyn Maloney wore as she strode into the Capitol on Tuesday morning would have been an unremarkable choice.  

But this happened to be less than 24 hours after the New York Democrat stood in front of a microphone in a bulky, black fireman’s jacket and pledged that it would be her uniform until Congress passes a bill that would aid 9/11 responders. 

“I do not intend to take it off until we pass this bill,” Maloney said. 

The bill, which would create a permanent fund for 9/11 victim compensation, had not passed by the following morning.

Maloney’s blazer, a flash of primary color worn with one button fastened and accessorized by an armful of heavy-looking binders, was clearly not the fireman’s jacket.

That jacket was black with yellow stripes, several sizes too large. It was a gift, she said at a press conference Monday, from a former firefighter.

What happened? The jacket, an aide said, was in Maloney’s office. The congresswoman went to the morning’s events straight from her home. At some point, it is safe to say, she took it off. 

Maloney has made a point of wearing firefighter’s jackets at public events and on the House floor on several occasions during the years that she has fought for compensation for 9/11 victims. This time is no different, she said.

“Wearing this coat around Congress and to public events is a visual reminder of the promise we made to our 9/11 heroes — responders and survivors,” she said in a statement. “It is certainly a conversation starter and helped me spread awareness about the need to pass the 9/11 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. I’m hopeful it will do the same for the Never Forget the Heroes Act and be a reminder to my colleagues in the House about our duty to these heroes.”

She planned to put the jacket back on, her office clarified Tuesday.

“The Congresswoman is working to get more than 200 bipartisan cosponsors on this bill and will be wearing the coat to honor the survivors and responders she is fighting for,” spokeswoman Jennifer Bell said. “She’ll be wearing it around the Capitol, particularly when she is meeting with other Members to solicit their support for our 9/11 heroes and the Never Forget The Heroes Act.”

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