Earlier this summer, Jon Stewart gave an impassioned—and at times disgustedÂ—plea in front of Congress on behalf of 9/11 first responders, other victims, and their families. His ask was a simple oneÂ—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 themÂ—NYPD officer Luis AlvarezÂ—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.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 18, 2019
200 members of the FDNY have now succumbed to WTC-related illness. They didnâ€™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
But today there was cause for celebrating as the Senate fully funded the 9/11 Victimsâ€™ Compensation FundÂ—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 Â“NoÂ”). 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 billÂ’s passage. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the comedian lauding him for his efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims. Stewart then joked, Â“Of course, IÂ’m the real hero here, I think we can all agree on thatÂ” 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 wonÂ’t be forced to come hat in hand to Congress again.
h/t: NBC News