House Democrats pushed through a bill Wednesday that would provide up to $7.4 billion in health benefits for first responders and other workers exposed to the dust and debris of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The measure, long a priority for New York lawmakers, passed 268-160, with only three Democrats opposed and 17 Republicans crossing the aisle in support.
“Today, members of the House put aside politics and made history by voting in favor of justice and care for the first responders and survivors of 9/11,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose district includes the site where the twin towers collapsed after the airliner attacks, leaving mountains of potentially hazardous materials.
The bill now goes before the Senate, with action possible in a lame-duck session.
Republicans objected to the bill as a “new entitlement program” that would be open to abuse.