Trump to sign 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill for first responders
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is expected to sign a bill to provide billions in health care compensation for police officers, firefighters and other first responders to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said Friday.
A Trump signing ceremony could come as early as Monday, officials said.
The Senate earlier this week gave final approval to the plan to replenish the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) by $10.2 billion over the next ten years.
The vote ended weeks of congressional debate over the size of the compensation plan, which benefits first responders who developed respiratory and other illnesses from the toxic fumes of the destroyed World Trade Center buildings. The compensation fund has been drawn down to the point where awards have been cut in half amid uncertainty over how much money Congress would provide.
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Claims are expected to exceed 22,000 from emergency personnel who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11, many of them breathing toxic fumes that caused major medical problems.
Proponents ranging from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart said the nation still owes a debt of thanks to the the families of the dead and injured.
“We can never repay the 9/11 community for what they’ve done, but we can stop penalizing them,” Stewart said this week. “There have been too many funerals, too many hospices … Their facilities deserve better.”
The bill became a political talking point after Stewart and 9/11 first responders delivered emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on June 11.
Luis Alvarez, a retired New York Police Department detective, told of his battle with cancer and his dozens of rounds of chemotherapy. Alvarez died two weeks later.