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Senate Will Vote on 9/11 Bill in Lame Duck, Schumer, Gillibrand Say

New York Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand vowed on Sunday to get a vote and final passage of a health bill for Sept. 11 first responders before Congress adjourns for the year.

“We will stay here as long as it takes to pass this bill through the Senate and the House,” Schumer said at a news conference.

The duo failed to beat back a filibuster of their bill Dec. 9, largely, they say, because GOP supporters insisted on first dealing with a tax cut extension package and a measure to fund the federal government.

Now that the tax cut bill has been signed into law and Senate leaders are negotiating a bipartisan continuing resolution to fund the federal government for at least the next three months, Schumer and Gillibrand said they believe they have the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP-led filibuster.

The New Yorkers said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised them a revote after a final vote on a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, which could come as early as Tuesday.

Despite their bravado about staying in session, the Senators acknowledged they have a few hurdles to overcome. For example, Republicans could drag out debate on the 9/11 health bill, which could make it difficult to pass before the chamber adjourns for the Christmas holiday.

The House would also need to pass the measure. Schumer and Gillibrand expressed hope that the House will stay in session long enough to pass it as well. “There will be huge pressure on people to not go home,” Schumer said.

Gillibrand added that they believe “there will be momentum” for a quick resolution to the bill once they demonstrate an ability to defeat a filibuster.

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