Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, chief sponsor of the Zadroga 9/11 health care bill, said Monday she is open to negotiating with Republicans on how to pay for the measure, in order to win bipartisan support.

Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said she would be willing to remove a provision in the House bill that taxes overseas companies if it helped avoid a filibuster.

"This should not be a partisan issue," Gillibrand said Monday at Stony Brook University's Long Island World Trade Center Program, which monitors and cares for first responders and other survivors of the 9/11 attack.

"We, as a nation, have an undeniable, moral obligation to care for the responders," she said. Gillibrand lauded the House for passing the bill last week and urged Senate colleagues to do the same.

Some Republicans have bristled at the notion of taxing overseas companies to pay for the $7.4-billion aid package. The House bill prevents foreign multinationals that are incorporated in tax haven countries from avoiding paying taxes on income earned in the U.S.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), the bill's key backer in the GOP, said there is "a real danger" of the bill being filibustered over the tax issue.

"That was a very important, major stumbling block in the House," King said. "I think a number of Republicans could have a chance of getting on board if you move the debate away from taxes." King said he would like to see unused stimulus funds pay for the bill.

The Senate vote is expected next month during the lame-duck session of Congress.

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Sept. 29, is intended to provide health care for ailing emergency responders and workers at the World Trade Center site as well as nearby residents.

John Devlin, 49, of Brightwaters, who was among the crowd of bill supporters at Gillibrand's appearance, thanked the senator for her effort and pleaded for the bill's passage. Devlin, saying he was speaking on behalf of union tradesmen, said he spent 10 months working at Ground Zero. Last year, the former engineer was diagnosed with stage-4 throat cancer."There was rubble everywhere," Devlin said. "We had to move the pile to find the bodies. We need this bill."

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