Published: Thursday, December 24, 2015 @ 7:55 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 24, 2015 @ 7:55 PM
By: Staff reports
WASHINGTON — Overlooked in the headline fights over the $1.1 trillion spending bill that cleared Congress last week was a payout 35 years in the making.
The federal government will finally direct up to $4.4 million to families of each of the 53 hostages held in Iran for 444 days.
Steve Lauterbach, of Dayton was one of those hostages.
The reason it has taken so long is the deal President Jimmy Carter signed to get the hostages out prevented them from seeking restitution from Iran. It is not clear, however, whether all the former hostages or their families will receive full payments.
In large measure that is because the $4.4 million total authorized by Congress depends on the outcome of efforts to collect on judgments won in earlier court rulings involving victims of terrorist attacks, as well as on the number of victims who file claims.
The law authorizes payments of up to $10,000 per day of captivity for each of the 53 hostages, 37 of whom are still alive. Fifty-two hostages were released on Jan. 20, 1981; a 53rd hostage had been released earlier because of illness. Spouses and children are authorized to receive a lump payment of as much as $600,000.