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Trump expected to sign 9/11 victim fund bill next week

FealGood Foundation co-founder John Feal speaks Tuesday in

FealGood Foundation co-founder John Feal speaks Tuesday in Washington after the Senate voted to extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Credit: Getty Images / Mark Wilson

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is slated to sign the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill into law on Monday, surrounded by first responders, including several from Long Island, who have been invited to The White House.

John Feal, founder of the Nesconset-based FealGood Foundation, said he and other first responders who have long been involved in the fight to permanently fund the federal program, were invited to attend a 3 p.m. bill signing ceremony.

On Tuesday, in a 97-2 vote, the Senate passed a bill, shepherded by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), to extend the fund through 2092. The House passed a companion measure earlier in the month by a vote of 402-12. The House version was sponsored by Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford), Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). 

With both chambers of Congress on board, the president’s desk is the final stop to enact the measure.

The White House declined to comment on the event, and whether or not the bipartisan group of sponsors would be invited to attend the bill signing ceremony. Newsday reached out to the sponsors but did not immediately hear back.

Feal, who lost part of his left foot after working to clear rubble from Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks, said he has reached out to about a dozen first responders from Long Island who plan to attend the invitation-only signing ceremony.

“We’re not celebrating. We know what we did, but you can’t celebrate when people are suffering,” Feal said. “We’re relieved, but there’s no joy in this.”

Feal, who previously met with President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama during the course of his advocacy work, said he was looking forward to taking one more trip to the nation’s capital with the first responders who fought for the fund’s protection.

“We went down to D.C. as strangers and we left as family,” Feal said.

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