NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lifelong medical support for first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks now hinges on a final senate vote on Tuesday.
On Monday, advocates made one last appeal to pass the “Never Forget The Heroes Act,” CBSN New York’s Natalie Duddridge reported.
“[I’m] very hopeful that it will go through. It should go through. It’s the right thing to do,” Uniformed Firefighters Association President Gerard Fitzgerald said.
Members of the FDNY unions were speaking out one day before heading to Washington D.C. for a historic vote on the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill.
“On behalf of our firefighters and first responders that came across the nation to help us in New York City, we are urging our senators to step up and vote ‘yes’ for the permanent authorization of the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund act,” said George Farinacci, VP of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.
Web Extra: Senate To Vote On 9/11 Funding On Tuesday:
A unanimous yes would extend funding for eight more decades for those who become sick with cancer and other illnesses in the years following the attacks.
Earlier this month, the House voted to permanently reauthorize the fund. But it must now pass the Senate.
It was stopped last week by Sen. Rand Paul, who raised concerns about the costs in light of the country’s $22 trillion debt.
“Any new program that’s going to have a longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to at the very least have this debate. Until then, I will object,” Sen. Paul said last week.
That objection is expected to be discussed prior to Tuesday’s 2 p.m. vote.
Advocates are urging objectors to think of the first responders who gave their lives to rescue and recovery.
The death toll for FDNY members alone has risen to 200 since the attacks, and then there’s the police and others.
“Over the weekend, the NYPD lost three of their members related to 9/11 disease. This is something that will continue to happen. It’s very sad,” Fitzgerald said.
If passed, the bill would be sent to President Donald Trump for a signature in the next several days.