Congress Passes Bill for 9/11 First Responders

Republicans drop opposition in the Senate
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2010 2:05 PM CST
Updated Dec 22, 2010 5:04 PM CST
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, as the Senate continued in session.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – The clout of Jon Stewart: Congress today approved the bill to provide health care for 9/11 first responders and sent it to President Obama for his signature. The House passed the measure late this afternoon (206-60) after the Senate did so earlier in the day, reports AP. The big breakthrough came when Senate Democrats—led by New York's Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand—agreed to reduce the bill's cost from $6.2 billion to $4.2 billion. A quick voice vote followed, with no objections.

"We've come to an agreement that costs less, doesn't allow double-dipping, doesn't allow exorbitant lawyer fees, and we've worked it out and so we're going to take care of the folks," the GOP's Tom Coburn, who had threatened to stonewall the original bill, tells ABC. "But we're going to do it in a way that doesn't punish the people that are going to pay the bill."

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