By Emily Drooby
Nearly two decades after September 11, 2001, Congress has finally taken the steps to remedy its slow-motion response to funding compensation for survivors and first responders.
The lawmakers passed a bill that would support those who’ve given so much of their life in the war on terror.
The unanimous vote brings the 9/11 compensation fund one step closer to becoming permanent.
“Every sick responder and survivor should be treated with the same dignity and compassion and all responders and survivors whether they got sick in 2015 or will get sick in 2025 or 2035 should be properly compensated,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.
The health care program that now exists for first responders and other 9/11 victims is running out of money.
Today’s vote is the first step toward finally fixing the problem permanently.
John Feal, a 9/11 responder, is advocating for all those who responded to the terrorism on 9/11.
“Over 95,000 people in the WTC health program, being treated across our great nation are being forgotten by our Federal government, by congress. A dysfunctional body of work who continues to fail us. We have battled these people now for over 15 years,” he said.
Today’s committee vote comes after Jon Stewart addressed the House yesterday in an emotional plea for help.
“They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs, with courage, grace, tenacity, humility… 18 years later — do yours,” said Stewart.
Stewart blasted committee members who skipped the hearing and the opportunity to listen to those who risked their lives on 9/11.
Since that horrible day, many have developed a slew of illnesses. Brian McGuire is one of them and he was forced to retire from a 9/11 related illness.
“Just last week alone we had a rough week of 9/11 first responders. We had 7 first responders and recovery workers die due to 9/11 cancer. We are here to try and help those families and bring some closure,” he said.
Since the 2001 attack about 10,000 first responders and victims have been diagnosed with cancer and at least 2,000 people have died from a 9/11 related disease. The risk of some cancers among first responders is 30 percent higher than the general population.