Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is set to meet soon with the first responders from 9/11 and discuss with them the renewal of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, ABC News reports.
The outlet could not confirm the meeting through McConnell’s office, but a Ground Zero recovery worker, John Feal, told ABC News it would take place. Feal said the meeting was requested by him, adding that it would take place on Tuesday.
“I don’t think he would have just openly invited me,” he said.
The news comes after McConnell had an open dispute with comedian John Steward, who asked Congress to make the victim compensation fund permanent. Earlier this month, during a public hearing, Steward criticized Congress for not funding the program, stressing that the first responders were the people who brought America back after it was left in ruins by Al-Qaeda’s attack.
“They responded in five seconds, they did their jobs. With courage grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!” said Steward in an emotional plea to Congress.
The comedian is one of the people fighting to protect the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which will run out of money at the end of next year if funding for it is not renewed.
“These cuts are real. Tomorrow will be my 270th trip to Washington in 15 years. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I’m seeing people get sick, friends die. Their families are going to be left in financial ruin,” said Feal on Monday.
Steward has long criticized McConnell for failing to act on the bill, pledging during his testimony not to allow a “certain someone” in the Senate use the issue for political gain. McConnell responded shortly after, saying that the extension would pass when it came up for renewal.
“These are the first heroes and veterans and victims of the great trillions of dollars War on Terror. And they are currently dying, suffering and in terrible need,” Steward fired back later. “You know you would think that would be enough for Congress to pay attention, but apparently, it’s not.”