'Put down your swords': Senate passes bill ensuring 9/11 victims fund will never run out of money
By Dareh Gregorian and Frank Thorp V
July 23, 2019
"I'm going to ask my team now to put down your swords and pick up your rakes and go home, and hopefully, we don't have to come back," victims' advocate John Feal told his fellow first responders at a news conference later. "What I'm going to miss the most about D.C. is — nothing."
Jon Stewart embraces a crying John Feal, the Sept. 11, 2001, first responder who led the organization pushing for the full extension of the victim compensation fund, just after the bill passed in the Senate on July 23, 2019.Frank Thorp V / NBC News
The Senate passed a bill Tuesday to ensure a fund to compensate victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks never runs out of money — and that first responders won't have to return to Congress to plead for more funding.
The vote came after intense lobbying from ailing 9/11 first responders — including one who died shortly after testifying before Congress last month.
The bill, which was passed by a vote of 97-2, would authorize money for the fund through 2092, essentially making it permanent.
Before the bill's final passage, the chamber defeated two proposed amendments: One, from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, would have restricted the authorization to 10 years; the other, from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, would have required offsets for the money spent on the fund.
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