NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is running out of money faster than expected, so lawmakers and first responders rallied at Ground Zero on Sunday as the fight continues to extend it permanently.
The fund supports first responders and others who were at Ground Zero on 9/11. It was renewed in 2015 for five years, but it’s quickly running dry.
“Everyone thought it was going to be enough money, not realizing how many illnesses there are. They lay dormant for 15 or 20 years, and so now these rare types of cancers are emerging,” said Congressman Pete King.
The Republican said the goal is to extend the fund indefinitely for another 20 or 30 years to cover the remaining victims who are fighting illnesses from the toxic dust that was in the air when the towers fell.
One of those victims is Rob Serra. 9/11 was his first day on the job as an FDNY firefighter.
“If this could be settled and we could finally have some sort of peace of mind and a permanent bill that we know everyone’s going to be taken care of whenever they get sick. It’s not a matter of if – it’s when they’re going to get sick,” Serra said.
The extension bill has bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
The House Judiciary Committee meets this week for a hearing on it.
Lawmakers are hoping for a vote before July 4.