By J.D. Durkin
On the day of the overwhelming 402-11 House vote in favor of permanently extending the September 11th Victim's Compensation Fund, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Cheddar she feels good about the bill — H.R. 1327 — and its chances to pass the Senate.
More or less.
The House is one thing. But as John Feal, one of the 9/11 first responders synonymous with the reauthorization effort recently told Cheddar, "The Senate is where bills go to die." Working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still the last hurdle to make permanent protections a reality. But Rep. Ocasio-Cortez says there's reason to adopt a trust-but-verify approach.
"I'm actually cautiously optimistic," AOC told Cheddar. "I spoke with some of our survivors, our first responders. And they said they've been actively whipping [McConnell]'s support." Several first responders, including Feal, recently sat down with McConnell in his Capitol Hill office to present the Kentucky Republican with Detective Luis Alvarez's NYPD badge.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who met with 9/11 responders and advocates following the House vote Friday, did note the hazards of the bill's next step. "I would hope that [McConnell] doesn't use it as a bargaining chip for anything else," she said.
Friday featured a press conference helmed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the main supporters of the bill: Rep.'s Jerry Nadler (D), Carolyn Maloney (D), and Peter King (R), all of New York.
Former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart set an ambitious goal at Friday's press conference: a desired signing ceremony for the bill's passage on Friday, August 2nd. "As far as I'm concerned, that's our deadline," he told Cheddar.