KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- As Congress decides Friday whether to extend the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, a Kansas City firefighter who responded to Ground Zero gave his own thoughts on the pending legislation.
The fund, set to be addressed by the U.S. House of Representatives, aims to provide financial support for the thousands who suffered serious medical issues, including a spate of cancer diagnoses, after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.
May of those who responded have illnesses still developing today that are connected to their exposure to toxic substances they encountered.
The original fund is nearly out of money, and has already cut some payments to those responders. The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the compensation fund measure in a vote on June 12. That was the day after former Daily Show host Jon Stewart blasted lawmakers for not working quicker to pass the bill.
KCFD Battalion Chief Larry Young went to Ground Zero in the wake of the attacks, along with at least five others in Kansas City. He said he has begun to develop health issues related to working there. That's part of the reason why the extension of the fund is so important to him.
"If we don't get the coverage through this, it could potentially come out of our own pockets," Young said. "To try to care for those kinds of illnesses and diseases that are popping up out of your own pockets, it's kind of heart-wrenching to think about. It's a scary proposition."
If the legislation passes the House today, it will next to be brought up by the Senate at a day and time to be determined.