The Senate is “set for a key test vote on a bill to aid people who became sick after being exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center ruins following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” according to the AP.
New York Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said they were confident they had the 60 votes needed to prevail on the vote expected Wednesday after the Senate completes its work on an arms control treaty with Russia.
But they worry that Republicans who oppose the measure could try to stall a final vote as Congress nears the holidays and the end of its lame duck session. Some GOP lawmakers have complained that Democrats are rushing the bill through. They also have raised concerns about the bill’s cost and how to pay for it.
"With the holidays fast approaching, we urge the Republicans to not drag this debate out needlessly," Schumer said in a statement. "For our 9/11 first responders, the finish line is finally in view."
The measure would provide “up to $6.2 billion in medical and economic benefits for tens of thousands of responders around the country who are sick from the toxins they inhaled while rescuing survivors and recovering remains at the Trade Center site.”
Update: According to The Hill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) “said Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had told him that Reid ‘has an agreement’ that can get the 9/11 bill through the Senate and to the House by early afternoon.”