Senate approves bill to extend 9/11 victims fund

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YONKERS -

The Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill ensuring that a victims' compensation fund related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks never runs out of money.

The 97-2 vote sends the bill to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

The vote came after Democratic senators agreed to allow votes on amendments sponsored by two Republican senators who had been blocking the widely popular bill.

The Senate easily defeated the amendments proposed by GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said 9/11 first responders and their families have had "enough of political games."

The bill would extend through 2092 a fund created after the 2001 terrorist attacks, essentially making it permanent.

Mark Kelly, a Yonkers resident, was working as a volunteer massage therapist in the recovery effort at ground zero after the attacks.

Kelly says he worked at ground zero for eight months. He says within six months after he stopped, he started developing lung issues.

He now suffers from a long list of medical issues, including asthma and COPD.

After dealing with red tape, Kelly finally received an award from the 9/11 Victim Compensation fund two years ago to help cover medical expenses. He's hoping it will be there again in case he gets a diagnosis he dreads.

"Knock on wood, I don't catch cancer. But if I do, I'm going to need the Victim's Compensation Fund to still be there," he told News 12. "We need to be taken care of. We were there for you. We need our country to be there for us."

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