WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate passed a bill Tuesday afternoon that would fund the Jon Stewart-backed 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for decades and permanently provide help to those who helped rescue people during the 2001 terrorist attacks.
- Bill compensating sick 9/11 first responders heads to Trump's desk
- Jon Stewart had backed the bill, testified with terminally-ill detective
- Luis Alvarez was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, died after testifying
The bill, whose full name is the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, was approved by the Senate 97-2.
The House passed the measure Friday, July 12, extending the fund through 2090. There was no trouble getting the needed votes in the Democratic-controlled House.
The administrator of the fund had said there was enough money to pay current and future claims.
In June, Stewart testified before Congress with terminally-ill 9/11 NYPD Det. Luis Alvarez to plead legislators to extend the benefits.
"When they get sick, they die," Alvarez told Congress at the time. "I have been lucky enough to have 68 rounds of chemo. You heard me right: 68 rounds. Many others haven't had the opportunity to have five, and some have none. ... It is my goal and it is my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders."
Alvarez was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2016, blaming his illness on the three months he spent in the rubble of the World Trade Center's twin towers.
He died days after testifying before Congress.
After the Senate passed the bill Tuesday, Stewart said it was "an honor of lifetime" to work with first responders to get the bill passed.
The bill now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature into law.