The House is scheduled to vote Friday on legislation to extend funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through 2090, weeks after the bill received nationwide attention following impassioned pleas for support from surviving first responders and comedian Jon Stewart.
The bill is expected to easily clear the House on Friday and will then be sent to the Senate, where timing on that vote is not yet clear, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a vote on the legislation.
The current law, which was last renewed in 2015, expires next year and the fund’s administrator says it doesn’t have enough money to pay out all current and projected claims.
“I’m pleased to announce the House will vote this Friday on the Zadroga Pfeifer Alvarez 9/11 #Renew911VCF,” House Majority Hoyer said earlier this week on Twitter. “The heroes who ran into harm’s way that day deserve swift action.”
September 11 first responder John Feal told reporters at the end of last month that McConnell committed to holding a vote to extend the fund, after sitting down with Feal and other 9/11 first responders on Capitol Hill.
“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 at the time.
The aftermath of the destruction from the 9/11 attacks has led to severe health impacts on first responders and recovery workers, including lung impairment and cancer, with thousands of death and injury claims.
The death of 9/11 first responder and advocate Luis Alvarez last month sparked an outpouring of grief. On Monday, the lead sponsors of the victim compensation fund bill announced that the legislation will be renamed to honor Alvarez and others.
The bill will be called Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.
“Luis Alvarez, Ray Pfeifer, and James Zadroga dedicated their lives to protecting others and advocating on behalf of those ailing after the 9/11 attacks,” Nadler said in a statement released as part of the announcement of the bill renaming. “It is a fitting tribute to rename this legislation after these heroes who epitomized bravery and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”