Senate overwhelmingly passes 9/11 victim fund bill, 97-2

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Former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Zach Gibson | Getty Images

The Senate passed the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2092 by a vote of 97-2 according to NBC News, virtually funding health care for 9/11 victims and first responders for life.

The bill was approved on Tuesday afternoon, having overwhelmingly passed the House 402-12 on July 12.

The fund, created after 9/11 in 2001, distributed over $7 billion to victims and their families through 2004. It was reactivated in 2011 and reauthorized for another five years in 2015. The fund was set to expire in December 2020.

Comedian and former host of “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart garnered national headlines last month when he emotionally addressed lawmakers to approve funding before it expired in 2020.

Stewart excoriated members of the House Judiciary Committee for using the bill as a political football in appropriations debates and failing to fund it indefinitely.

Funding for the new bill is guaranteed through 2092, essentially providing for 9/11 first responders for life.

“We can never repay all that the 9/11 community has done for our country, but we can stop penalizing them,” Stewart told reporters on Tuesday. “And today is that day that they can exhale.”

The floor vote comes after Sen. Rand Paul blocked unanimous passage of the bill last Wednesday, criticizing the legislation for failing to offset the funding by eliminating wasteful spending elsewhere.

The bill now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature, who is expected to sign it.



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