9/11 Aid Passes House

The House voted Friday to extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

By the lopsided margin of 402-12, the House passed legislation that would effectively make permanent a special compensation fund for first-responders and other victims of the 2001 attacks, while providing however much money is needed to pay all eligible claims.

Action on the bill comes after a monthslong, emotional lobbying campaign by first-responders, their families and others, backed by the celebrity star power of former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart. House leaders moved up the timing of the vote days after the death of former New York City Police Department detective Luis Alvarez, who developed cancer after cleaning up the debris at Manhattan’s Ground Zero.

The fund’s life already has been extended several times as more victims develop cancer and other ailments from environmental contaminants at the crash sites. Most of the health problems stem from breathing toxic air at Ground Zero, where the former twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood.

Read more at Roll Call.