June 12, 2019 The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Wednesday.
The bill will guarantee support for sick first responders and survivors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks until 2090, but it still needs to pass the U.S. House and Senate.
On Tuesday, an emotional Jon Stewart testified in front of a congressional committee over the treatment of 9/11 first responders. Stuart told members of the committee that families want to know, “Why this is so damn hard and takes so damn long?”
Stewart has been a voice for the victims and first responders, frequently appearing on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress for increased funding to aid those who suffered illnesses following the attacks.
Last month, a new Memorial Glade honoring all first responders and recovery workers opened at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the chairman of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, told hundreds gathered on the plaza for the ceremony:
“We have a duty to care for those who need it and to honor the memory of those who died. The memorial glade helps us to fulfill that duty.”
Thousands of first responders including fire fighters, paramedics, EMT workers, police officers and ground zero recovery workers have died from or are still battling diseases —including cancers that doctors with the World Trade Center Health Program have associated with exposure to toxic fumes and dust at Ground Zero.
In February, 9/11 victims received a letter informing them that because the 9/11 fund was running out of money due to an increase in death and cancer claims, payouts would be cut by half or more.
Meanwhile, President Trump asked Congress for $8 million and declared a national emergency to get a wall built on the United States’ southern border. The real emergency, Stewart said, involves the people who need assistance from the Victims Compensation Fund.
“How can we let them just struggle and suffer?” Stewart asked. “This is a real — a national emergency, if you will.”