WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. congressional committee on Wednesday unanimously authorised laws to increase the fund compensating first responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults on the World Trade Center for the subsequent 70 years, a transfer that may keep away from steep profit reductions over a scarcity of cash.
FILE PHOTO: Comedian Jon Stewart, who earlier had testified earlier than a House Judiciary Committee assembly on advantages for 9/11 first responders and victims, walks between conferences on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
The House Judiciary Committee acted someday after tv character and comic Jon Stewart castigated lawmakers at a listening to for his or her gradual response to serving to New York City firefighters, law enforcement officials and different emergency personnel who rushed to the scene of the assaults that left two of Manhattan’s most well-known skyscrapers in rubble.
The fund additionally helps building employees and victims of the assault.
“Your indifference prices these women and men their most respected commodity – time,” Stewart stated to a listening to room filled with lawmakers and first-responders, together with these now affected by most cancers, respiratory issues and different critical well being points because of inhaling contaminated air almost 18 years in the past.
Before Wednesday’s vote, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose constituents dwell in New York City, stated that regardless of federal officers’ statements that the air was secure within the aftermath of the assault, “greater than 95,000 responders and survivors are sick.”
The invoice, which subsequent goes to the total House for debate, would prolong the victims’ compensation fund to 2090, placing it on the identical phrases as a well being program for World Trade Center victims. It additionally would reverse any profit cuts as a consequence of inadequate funds.
Also on Wednesday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York pleaded for quick passage in that chamber.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was requested by a reporter whether or not he would advance the laws.
“I hadn’t checked out that currently. I’ll must. We’ve all the time handled that in a compassionate means and I assume we’ll once more,” McConnell stated.
In the previous, some lawmakers have complained about the price of serving to 9-11 victims at a time of extreme U.S. price range deficits.
“It’s shameful. There’s no different phrase for it. Shameful, that our courageous first responders have needed to endure the indignity of delay after delay after delay,” Schumer stated in a speech to the Senate.
Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Bill Berkrot