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Do you support permanent authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

After Jon Stewart’s Speech, House Judiciary Unanimously Votes to Extend 9/11 Fund

by Countable | 6.13.19

Update - June 14, 2019:

  • The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to extend the 9/11 compensation fund for police, firefighters and other first responders. The move came a day after TV personality Jon Stewart excoriated lawmakers for their inaction on the Never Forget the Heroes Act.
  • The bill now heads to the full House for a vote, where, with 312 cosponsors, it's expected to easily pass. It's fate in the upper chamber is less clear, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) telling reporters on Wednesday that he wasn't aware of legislation to permanently renew the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
"Gosh, I hadn't looked at that lately. I'll have to. We've always dealt with that in the past in a compassionate way, and I assume we will again," McConnell told reporters.
  • But during the last renewal fight, in 2015, McConnell blocked a permanent version of the fund and held up a revised five-year renewal until he eventually acquiesced under mounting criticism.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged the chamber's Republican leadership to bring the bill up for a vote as soon as possible.
"We will reach the point soon, most likely this year, when more will have died from 9/11-related illnesses than on 9/11 itself," Schumer said.

Countable's original story appears below.


What’s the story?

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart tore into Congress for failing to fully fund a program to support sick and dying 9/11 first responders.

"As I sit here today, I can't help but think, what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to," Stewart said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). "Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders, and in front of me, a nearly empty Congress," Stewart said.

Behind Stewart: dozens of police, firefighters, and other first responders.

In front of Stewart: Many empty seats, as numerous lawmakers on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties didn’t show up for the hearing.

"Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one," Stewart said, tearing up. "Shameful. It's an embarrassment to the country and it is a stain on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren't here. But you won't be, because accountability doesn't appear to be something that occurs in this chamber."

More than 11,000 first responders and survivors have been diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers and illnesses. A bipartisan act was introduced in February by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to fully fund the VCF through 2090.

Nadler ended the hearing by assuring the room that "we will get this done as quickly as possible, and I do think we will get this done."

Tell your reps how to vote on H.R. 1327→Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act

—Josh Herman

Countable

Written by Countable

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