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McConnell pledges vote on 9/11 bill after Stewart criticism

Regional News

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to call a Senate vote on a bill ensuring that a victims’ compensation fund for the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money.

McConnell made the commitment after meeting Tuesday with a group of first responders.

“We want to try to deal with (the legislation) before the August recess,” the Kentucky Republican told ABC News, adding that he had a “good meeting” with the first responders and even received the shield of a retired New York City detective who now is suffering from cancer after working for weeks at the World Trade Center site.

The meeting came two weeks after comedian Jon Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, offered withering criticism of Congress at a public hearing at the Capitol that was attended by uniformed firefighters and police officers but few lawmakers.

McConnell now has “a sense of urgency” about the bill and wants to see it approved before Congress goes on its August recess, said John Feal, a recovery worker at the World Trade Center site and a longtime activist.

Approving the bill in the House and Senate by August would be “way ahead of schedule” and a credit to McConnell and advocates such as comedian Jon Stewart, Feal said.

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