With the support of a delegation that included 9/11 survivors, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in D.C. Tuesday, pressed the Senate yesterday and got one step closer to passing the imperiled first-responders health bill in what could be its last chance to become law.
Illinois Republican Sen.-elect Mark Kirk agreed to support the bill, bringing the tally to 59, one vote shy of the 60 Democrats need to break an expected GOP filibuster, reports said.
Kirk was elected in a special election, and will be seated in time to vote on the bill.
“We can’t wait any longer for action on this legislation,” Bloomberg said. “This is an American obligation.”
The Senate must pass the bill during this lame-duck session, or its sponsors must start over next year. The odds are slim that the House — now with a GOP majority — would pass it again.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would provide about $7.4 billion for first-responders who got sick from toxic dust at ground zero.
Here in New York, first-responders had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to sign the city’s multi-million dollar settlement, but complications meant a decision may not be finalized until Thursday.
Ninety-five percent of plaintiffs must sign for it to be accepted.