House passes bill to reauthorize funding for 9/11 victims

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The House on Friday passed a bill to reauthorize funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. 

The bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) would authorize additional funds through fiscal 2090. It was passed 402-12.

The current law was renewed in 2015 but is set to expire in 2020. 

“In the nearly 18 years since the attack, the death toll continues to climb,” Maloney said in a floor speech ahead of the vote. “We as a nation have a moral obligation … to take care of the people who took care of us.”

{mosads} The bill had 332 co-sponsors, including 96 Republicans, and was widely expected to pass. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said his chamber will also take up the bill during this legislative session.

McConnell reiterated that in a statement Friday after the passage of the bill in the House.

“The first responders who rushed into danger on September 11th, 2001, are the very definition of American heroes and patriots. 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. We will consider this important legislation soon,” McConnell said in a statement.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) expressed support for the House bill but lamented that it did not have a provision for how to pay for it.

 “It is sad to know that we will have to touch this again and time will pass,” he said, adding that the bill will cost $10.2 million during its first decade. 

The passage follows comedian Jon Stewart’s sharp criticism of lawmakers for their poor attendance at a Judiciary subcommittee hearing to to renew the funding. 

“They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs,” Stewart said of the first responders. 

“Eighteen years later,” Stewart added, “do yours!”

The bill specifically honors 9/11 first responders Luis Alvarez and Ray Pfeifer and New York Police Department detective James Zadroga. Alvarez developed cancer after responding to the attacks and spoke at the same hearing of Stewart. He died on June 29. 

Maloney had been wearing firefighter jackets for months to advocate for the funding reauthorization. 

Updated at 2:03 p.m.

Tags 9/11 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Carolyn Maloney Doug Collins Mitch McConnell
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