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House Finishes 111th Congress With 9/11 Bill

The House cleared a health care bill for Sept. 11 first responders on a 206-60 vote Wednesday, in what is likely its last official act of the 111th Congress.

“It is now up to us to see that the United States honors its heroes,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said before the vote.

But Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) urged a “no” vote, because the bill would be paid for in part by a new tax on some imported goods and worries that other countries would retaliate.

A significant number of House Members missed the vote: 168 were not present.

The Senate passed the bill earlier Wednesday on a voice vote, after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) reached an agreement with the bill’s sponsors to shrink its cost to $4.2 billion from $6.2 billion. Coburn had complained that the compensation under the original bill was excessive and would be susceptible to fraud.

The 9/11 bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

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