Senate to Fast Track 9/11 Health Bill

Democrats need the support of at least one Republican to ensure the proposal is not filibustered.

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BY Michael Mcauliff
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON - Senate leaders agreed to fast-track the 9/11 health bill Thursday - a day after it finally passed in the House, the Daily News has learned.

Leaders are putting the $7.4 billion James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act directly on the legislative calendar when lawmakers return from campaigns, bypassing the normal, lengthy committee process.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also was trying to attach the measure as an amendment to other vital legislation. [See who donates the most money to Gillibrand.]

Moving the bill ahead on its own would give it one more chance to pass in the dwindling days of this Congress.

It is not certain the measure will pass, and Democrats might not bring it up if they think it will fail.

Republicans have grown increasingly reluctant to pass new spending, and while the Zadroga bill pays for itself, it does so by taxing foreign companies, which the GOP opposes.

"I am hopeful that we will have bipartisan support and we will pass this bill before the end of the year," Gillibrand said.

Democrats need the support of at least one Republican to ensure the proposal is not filibustered, and they haven't found one yet.

"America must keep our promise to the heroes of this country who came to our rescue on Sept. 11," Gillibrand said.