WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday signed a bill ensuring that a victims’ compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money.
Appearing in the Rose Garden with more than 60 first responders from the 2001 terrorist attacks, Trump sent into law an extension of the fund through 2092, essentially making it permanent.
“You inspire all of humanity,” Trump said of the “true American warriors” who rushed to assist victims on the day of the attacks and searched for remains for months after.
He added that the nation has a “sacred obligation” to care for the responders and their families.
The $7.4 billion fund had been rapidly depleting, and administrators recently cut benefit payments by up to 70%.
The bill passed Congress on a bipartisan basis but only after delays by some Republicans exposed the legislative branch to withering criticism from activists, including comedian Jon Stewart.
More than 40,000 people have applied to the fund, which covers illnesses potentially related to being at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon or Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the attacks.