House Extends 9/11 First Responders Funding

The House passed a bill Friday extending funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through 2090.

The development follows shortly after the legislation came in the public eye due to heartfelt pleas for support from comedian John Steward and a number of first responders.

The bill passed the House in a 402-12 vote and will now be put to a vote in the Senate, although the timeline for that is not clear yet. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to hold a vote on the bill, and his office confirmed that “this important legislation” will be considered soon, CNN writes.

“The first responders who rushed into danger on September 11th, 2001 are the very definition of American heroes and patriots,” he said. “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.”

Both Republicans and Democrats expressed their support of the legislation, with lawmakers cheering on the chamber’s floor when the bill was passed. Prior to the vote, Steward, who is still pressuring Congress to get the bill to President Donald Trump’s desk, said the House vote was the “semi-finals,” adding that the “finals are two weeks from now in the Senate.”

September 11 first responder John Feal said in June that McConnell had vowed to hold a vote in the Senate to extend the fund which is running out of money to pay out all current and projected claims.

“Mitch McConnell made a commitment to the 9/11 community and my team leaders that he is going to help us get a piece of legislation that is going to be passed in the House in July, for an August vote in the Senate,” Feal said last month.

Steward, who blasted lawmakers who expressed concerns about the cost of the bill, also stressed Friday that he expected the Senate to act soon.

“I fully expect that by August 2nd, we will have our final signing ceremony,” he said.

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