Senate Approves Millions for 9/11 Survivor Fund

Senate Approves Millions for 9/11 Survivor Fund

( – In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, many survivors experienced significant health issues that led to years of medical treatment. More than nine years after the attacks, on January 2, 2011, then-President Barack Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, establishing the World Trade Center health fund. Congress reauthorized it four years later and extended it through 2090. Lawmakers noticing the struggling fund have pushed for additional money, and now, the Senate has approved it.

On Thursday, July 27, the Senate approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to inject $676 million into the 9/11 health care fund. New York Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand spearheaded the motion. Schumer previously mentioned trying to get a $3 billion infusion in September but only managed to get $1 billion approved.

In a press release on Gillibrand’s website, the senator applauded the measure and said it would also allow treatment for the previously excluded active-duty military and civilians at the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania locations. The amendment earmarks $200 million for those survivors alone. The release notes that while helpful, it won’t be enough, and survivors will require future funding. Congress continues to fill in the gaps each year.

Schumer spoke on the floor following the Senate’s passage of the amendment with tremendous bipartisan support. He said it’s a “huge step forward” making sure people get the assistance they need as they “are still getting sick from the dust, the air, [and] the poisons.” Many first responders suffered from respiratory illnesses and developed cancers from breathing in the toxins. It’s been nearly 22 years since the attacks, and remains a major concern.

While nearly 3,000 people died in the initial 9/11 attacks, the Victim’s Compensation Fund issued a 20th-anniversary special report indicating the fund had received 3,900 death claims for 9/11-related illnesses, according to the New York Post. The report also indicated a significant rise in survivor claims, noting 48% related to cancer.

The bill now goes to the House, where analysts expect it to pass before President Joe Biden signs it.

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