Luis Alvarez: Congress votes to replenish 9/11 victim fund weeks after first responder’s death

Following the House of Representatives’ steps, the Senate voted Tuesday to pass the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund bill, which would provide financial assistance to ailing first responders and their families until 2092.

The Senate voted 97-2 to replenish the 9/11 victims fund, which was projected to be depleted by the end of next year. According to CNN, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the fund will cost $10 billion over the next decade.

According to the Never Forget Project, FDNY members who were at Ground Zero were found to have gotten thyroid, colon, prostate, and blood cancers at higher rates than those who weren’t there. CBS News reported that more than 50,000 people have suffered illnesses caused by toxins that were released when the Twin Towers fell.

Government officials announced in February that they would have to decrease how much is paid out through the dwindling fund due to a surge in requests for aid, CNN reported.

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The measure was championed by former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and first responders like NYPD police detective Luis Alvarez, 53, who died earlier this month of 9/11-linked colorectal cancer. Days before being placed in hospice care, Alvarez appeared before the House Judiciary subcommittee and urged Congress to approve additional funding.

In pressing for its passage, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand noted that NYPD detective Christopher Cranston, who worked at Ground Zero and the landfill where the Twin Towers were reviewed, died Saturday of cancer, according to The Washington Post.

The publication reported that about $5 billion has been paid out to 21,000 people affected by the 2001 terror attacks. Officials estimated that deaths attributed to Ground Zero-linked illnesses will soon exceed the 3,000 people killed on September 11.

The House overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize the bill weeks earlier. It will now go to the president’s desk, where it’ll likely be signed into law.

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[Featured image: Luis Alvarez/US Network Pool via AP, Pool; Facebook]