Earlier this summer, Jon Stewart gave an impassioned—and at times disgusted—plea in front of Congress on behalf of 9/11 first responders, other victims, and their families. His ask was a simple one—fund the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund responsible for paying healthcare expenses for the people with medical conditions related to the attacks.
The 9/11 first responders and those tasked with the daunting challenge of cleaning up the Ground Zero site suffered from a raft of illnesses due to the toxic environment left in the wake of the attack. One of them—NYPD officer Luis Alvarez—succumbed to cancer just weeks after testifying alongside Stewart.
The 200th New York City firefighter died of a 9/11-related illness just a few days before the Senate took up the measure. Stewart and his compatriots mourned his loss.
Rest in peace, firefighters Richard Driscoll and Kevin Nolan.
200 members of the FDNY have now succumbed to WTC-related illness. They didn’t hesitate to run into danger. They stayed until the work was done.
The Senate MUST fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. pic.twitter.com/pHTif6PwCL
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 18, 2019
But today there was cause for celebrating as the Senate fully funded the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund—permanently.
The bill passed the House earlier this summer and cleared the Senate today on a vote of 97-2 (GOP Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul voted “No”). President Trump is expected to sign the bill on Friday.
.@McConnellPress walks past Jon Stewart at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol. The Senate will be voting later today on HR 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. pic.twitter.com/bZ0FaOhTSl
— Bill Clark (@billclarkphotos) July 23, 2019
Stewart spoke briefly at a press conference after the bill’s passage. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the comedian lauding him for his efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims. Stewart then joked, “Of course, I’m the real hero here, I think we can all agree on that” before calling out the brave men and women responsible for doing the bulk of the legwork in securing the funds.
The bill will fund the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund through 2092, effectively making it permanent. Stewart and the rest of those still affected by the 9/11 attacks won’t be forced to come hat in hand to Congress again.
h/t: NBC News