WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — U.S. Sen. Blumenthal is calling for an immediate vote on the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. The fund is running out of money. Senator Blumenthal’s message to republicans: Bring the bill up for a vote.
The Victims Compensation Fund helps pay for the medical bills for people who got sick after responding to ground zero either on 9/11 or on the days and weeks after.
So many of them developed cancers and other diseases associated with the dust from the World Trade Center. Some people got sick within a few years. Now almost 18 years later, there are still people getting sick. So many people, in fact, that the compensation fund is running out of money.
New Haven resident John Dyer is one of the people suffering. He is an NYPD officer. He worked at Ground Zero and ended up with a brain tumor the size of a golf ball.
“In September of last year, he got off duty and started throwing up,” Dyer said.
That was 17 years after 9/11. Senator Richard Blumenthal stood with firefighters in West Haven to call for help for the first responders affected.
“The numbers and severity of these illnesses is exploding because the health effects are coming due,” Blumenthal said.
In Connecticut, 336 people have filed claims to the 911 Victims Compensation Fund, but with money running out, claims could be cut in half. That would be devastating for victims and families like the Dyers.
“He’s still under treatment,” John said of his son. “He is just getting some of his speech back, but if they start cutting the funds, I can’t afford to pay for it.”
You may remember comedian John Stewart lashing out at a poorly attended committee hearing a few weeks ago, calling on Congress to do its job and support the first responders who got sick doing their jobs. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then went on TV and said he didn’t know why Stewart was getting, “bent out of shape.”
“Put this bill on the floor of the senate for a vote,” is Blumenthal’s message for Republicans. “Give it a vote. Give it a vote, because you know it will pass.”
Blumenthal knows it will pass because when the house voted on Friday, it passed by 402-12. That means it’s not a question of if, but when it will pass the senate. Democrats say the sooner the better for all those first responders.
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