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Both houses of Congress vote to indefinitely extend the 9/11 Victims Fund


The bill now heads to President Trump

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Both houses of Congress have passed a bill that will authorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Here's what we know

The new bill, which will now head to President Donald Trump's desk, authorizes the fund until 2092. Without this extension, the fund would have expired next year. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, extending the fund will cost about $10 billion over the next 10 years.

The bill had already passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 402 to 12. The fund has typically received overwhelming support from Congress in the past.

Because the fund needed to be reauthorized periodically, survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks had to repeatedly go back to Congress to ask for more money. Comedian Jon Stewart has been a huge advocate for these survivors and their quest for funding.

Two GOP senators voted against this bill

The bill passed in the Senate by a 97 to 2 vote. The only two senators to vote against the measure were Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). The two had delayed the passage of the bill temporarily last week.

Lee argued that reauthorizing the bill periodically prevented provided accountability.

"Since 2011, the 9/11 Victims Fund has always had finite authorizations, and by all accounts it has an excellent record avoiding waste and abuse," Lee said on July 18. "These two things are not coincidental. They go together."

Paul also contended that authorizing the fund indefinitely was "irresponsible."

Lee introduced an amendment to the bill that would force it to be reauthorized every 10 years, while Paul introduced one of his own that would have required Congress to make budget cuts in other areas equal to the amount of money going into the fund. Both were defeated.

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