House expected to vote Friday to extend 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Posted at 7:47 PM, Jul 09, 2019

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Tuesday that the House will vote Friday on legislation to extend the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

The measure is expected to easily clear the House and will then be sent to the Senate.

"I'm pleased to announce the House will vote this Friday on the Zadroga Pfeifer Alvarez 9/11 #Renew911VCF," Hoyer said on Twitter. "The heroes who ran into harm's way that day deserve swift action."

Hoyer thanked former late-night host Jon Stewart, who delivered an impassioned plea calling on Congress to extend the funding last month, along with Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler of New York "for their advocacy on this issue."

9/11 first responder John Feal told reporters at the end of last month that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell committed to holding a vote to extend the fund, after sitting down with Feal and other 9/11 first responders on Capitol Hill.

"Mitch McConnell made a commitment to the 9/11 community and my team leaders that he is going to help us get a piece of legislation that is going to be passed in the House in July, for an August vote in the Senate," Feal said at the time.

The Kentucky Republican has also publicly vowed that the fund will be fully funded.

The current law, which was last renewed in 2015, expires next year and the fund's administrator says it doesn't have enough money to pay out all current and projected claims.

The aftermath of the destruction from the 9/11 attacks has led to severe health impacts on first responders and recovery workers, including lung impairment and cancer, with thousands of death and injury claims.

The death of 9/11 first responder and advocate Luis Alvarez last month sparked an outpouring of grief. On Monday, the lead sponsors of the victim compensation fund bill announced that the legislation will be renamed to honor Alvarez and others.

The bill will be called Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.

"Luis Alvarez, Ray Pfeifer, and James Zadroga dedicated their lives to protecting others and advocating on behalf of those ailing after the 9/11 attacks," Nadler said in a statement released as part of the announcement of the bill renaming. "It is a fitting tribute to rename this legislation after these heroes who epitomized bravery and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country."