The House passed legislation on Friday, extending funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through 2090, a few weeks after comedian Jon Stewart made an impassioned, angry plea to lawmakers in Washington.
The House voted 402-12 to pass the legislation that’s named for three of the 9/11 first responders who have died as a result of cancer-related illness from their time at Ground Zero: former NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, NYPD Officer James Zadroga, and FDNY Firefighter Ray Pfeifer. Alvarez died two weeks ago…and just two weeks after making the trip to Washington with Stewart to plead with members of Congress for funding.
“The first responders who rushed into danger on September 11th, 2001 are the very definition of American heroes and patriots,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The Senate has never forgotten the Victim Compensation Fund and we aren’t about to start now. Nothing about our shared goal to provide for these heroes is remotely partisan.”
The Victim Compensation Fund provides money to those who have been affected by diseases linked to exposure to toxic debris on 9/11 and in the aftermath of the attacks. First responders are dying from this exposure at an alarming rate and there are thousands of additional unpaid claims.
The funding will cost $10.2 billion over the first decade, and the vote to pass the legislation on Friday was met with cheers and applause on the House floor from both Republicans and Democrats. The current victim’s compensation fund is authorized until 2020.
The legislation now moves to the Senate, and Mitch McConnell has said that he wants to have the vote by next month.