- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The House will vote Friday on a bill to renew a program aimed at compensating first responders still suffering effects from the 2001 terrorist attacks, a top Democrat said Tuesday.

Though funded into next year, the program has become a major hot potato on Capitol Hill, where Democrats are rushing to renew the funding immediately amid warnings that money is running out.

“The heroes who ran into harm’s way that day deserve swift action,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer tweeted.

His decision to schedule a vote this week could build pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said the fund will be renewed, but has not shown the immediacy Democrats have demanded.

“We’ve never left the 9/11 victims behind and we won’t again,” Mr. McConnell told reporters last month.

The fund has paid out claims to more than 20,000 people, but a surge of new claims has left the finances in a precarious state. The fund said it would have to start cutting compensation by up to 70% to stretch its money. Claims cover medical expenses and lost wages.

The fund was created in 2011 by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Zadroga, a New York City Police Department officer who died in 2006, was the first person to have his illness linked to the 2001 attacks.

On Monday Democrats added the names of firefighter Ray Pfeifer and police Detective Luis Alvarez, who both died this year from cancer related to the terrorist attacks, to the reauthorization bill.

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