December 22, 2010

Jon Stewart deserves big props for stepping up and making this a national issue since the media gave it a pass at first.

NY Daily News.

The deal to pass a 9/11 health bill is done, the Daily News has learned.

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand met with other senators' staff and staff from Rep. Carolyn maloney's offce until well after midnight, cutting a new deal and trimming the package to care for 9/11 responders to $4.3 billion, sources close to the deal said.

They reached final agreement at about 11:30 this morning after the New York Democrats met for an hour with the prime GOP opponents, Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Majority Leader Harry Reid is said to have joined the talks at the end, and agreed to try for quick passage.

The measure could be passed even before the START treaty is ratified.

More to follow...(h/t Greg Sargent)

UPDATE: The bill passes the Senate on a voice vote.

After days of stalemate, the Senate has passed a health bill to aid 9/11 first responders -- without a single "no" vote.

The bill passed by a voice vote or "unanimous consent."

The upper chamber took up the measure after New York Democrats brokered a deal with GOP senators who objected to the legislation's cost and the process by which it was written.

It will now go to the House for final passage. Sources tell NBC News that Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is negotiating with the GOP right now about how quickly the bill can get on the House floor. A final vote is expected in the House late this afternoon or early this evening.

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