Survivors and first responders affected by the September 11 attacks will finally be guaranteed the right to funds to cover lifetime healthcare costs.
The bill that secures the funding, spearheaded by Jon Stewart, passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, 97 to 2, after having passed in the House by 402 to 12.
Thanks to this reauthorization of the Victims Compensation Fund, which was previously due to expire in 2020, 9/11 victims and their families will now be able to claim funds until 2090, which will be paid out until 2092.
Long-term financial support has proven to be vital as survivors, police officers, and firefighters have experienced the late onset of cancer years after the tragedy. Last week, the 200th firefighter involved in the 2001 response died of cancer-related illnesses.
Stewart testified in front of Congress last month, along with former police detective Luis Alvarez, 53, who was about to undergo his 69th round of chemotherapy. “This fund isn’t a ticket to paradise—it’s to provide our families with care,” Alvarez said to Congress members. The NYPD detective, whose name is now on the bill, died three weeks later.
Senators Rand Paul (a Kentucky Republican) and Mike Lee (a Utah Republican) were the only two nay votes. Both previously cited concerns over adding to the national debt, with Paul concluding that the funding was “wasteful spending.”
President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law Friday.