WASHINGTON — In its final vote before lawmakers left Washington for November’s midterm elections, the House on Friday overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation that would authorize $2.7 billion in compensation payments to the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The bill passed 400 to 31, with just one Democrat, Representative Kurt Schrader of Oregon, opposing it. It was to go next to the Senate, which had already begun its campaign-season recess and where its prospects are uncertain.
The bill would direct the money to be used for lump-sum payments to immediate family members of Sept. 11 victims who have been barred from receiving money from the U.S. Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund. It was created in 2015 to provide compensation to Americans held as hostages by Iran and their families, and other victims of international state-sponsored terrorism, and later expanded to include 9/11 families.
But some direct family members had been excluded from the fund because they had already received payments from a separate one created specifically to compensate the relatives of Sept. 11 victims.
The legislation, sponsored by Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, was based on a similar measure introduced in August by Representative Nicole Malliotakis, Republican of New York.
Ms. Malliotakis said that “5,364 individuals who lost loved ones on that fateful day have fought for 21 years for their entitled compensation under the United States Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund after being wrongfully excluded.”
“Today, the House finally took a step to correct this solemn wrong and provide our 9/11 widows, widowers and children with the redress they deserve,” she said.
House lawmakers have also been under pressure to address a $3 billion funding deficit for the World Trade Center Health Program, a federal health care initiative that covers medical treatment and monitoring for over 117,000 survivors and emergency workers who responded to the attacks 21 years ago.
The shortfall, prompted by a rise in medical costs and cancer rates over the past three years, means the program will not be able to cover new members starting in October 2024 if the gap is not addressed, Republican lawmakers have warned.