NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The fight is finally over.
President Donald Trump signed the “Never Forget the Heroes Act” on Monday, extending the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2092.
The president was joined in the Rose Garden by 200 first responders, family members and survivors.
“To every 9/11 hero: You poured out your heart, your sweat, your soul and everything you had for your country,” he said Monday.
SEE IT: President Trump Signs ‘Never Forget The Heroes Act’
It was a hard won battle for those who have been suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.
“Over the last two decades, you have endured hardship with amazing grace and incredible grit,” said Trump.
Firefighter Joe Makay spent endless hours on the pile at Ground Zero.
“A lot of emotion. It’s been a long fight down in DC. To have the people that walked the halls with us – like Lou and Pfeifer, them being gone, and us carrying on their fight,” he told CBSN New York before the signing.
CBSN New York: 9/11 First Responder, Family Member On Significance Of Signing
Mary Jane Greco, wife of first responder Paul Greco, said “at least this is bringing some form of peace of mind to everybody.”
“Tens of thousands of people are going to be helped now with this bill passing,” Makay added.
Ray Pfeifer’s Sister Talks About Signing Of 9/11 Victim Compensation Bill
The bill calls for extending the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2092 and an additional 10.2 billion in payments over the next 10 years.
“We have already lost too many 9/11 heroes, and sadly, many more will become sick and die in the years to come. But now, because this bill is finally the law of the land, our 9/11 first responders, survivors, and their families can finally have some peace of mind as they continue to fight through their illnesses linked to the 9/11 attacks,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Monday. “We will never forget the sacrifice they made for us, and I am grateful to every single person who helped pass this bill and to President Trump for signing it quickly into law.”
As first responders and their families celebrate, U.S. President Donald Trump shows off his signature on H.R. 1327, an act to permanently authorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on July 29, 2019, in Washington, DC. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The bill was named for NYPD Detectives Luis Alvarez and James Zadroga, along with Firefighter Ray Pfeifer.
Alvarez’s compelling appearance on Capitol Hill just weeks before his death alongside comedian Jon Stewart helped spur Congress into bipartisan action.
“After 9/11, to see the way the country came together, it put wind in our sails,” Makay said.
Funding for the bill also covers construction and iron workers who spent weeks and months helping with the recovery and cleanup, as well as students and others who were in the area and suffered from 9/11-related illnesses.
You can learn more about the Ray Pfiefer Foundation and make a donation by clicking here.