NY 1 - December 20, 2010Democrats believe they now have enough bipartisan support to re-introduce and pass the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Sunday changes they have made to the bill that would help September 11th first responders and others who worked at the World Trade Center site.
The bill would provide a fund to monitor and treat responders who have become ill.
After meeting with lawmakers across the aisle they've agreed to lower the number from some $7 billion to about a billion less.
"We have worked extremely close with a number of our Republican colleagues and have made a series of changes to the bill to accommodate their support," Gillibrand said. "We have reduced the size of the legislation. We've reduced the cost by more than one billion dollars from $7.4 billion to $6.2 billion and this will not diminish the health care that we are able to provide for these heroes."
"We believe we're on the verge of an eleventh hour breakthrough, this has been a long process," Schumer said. "It's like running a marathon. We've had a lot of ups and a lot of downs."
Supporters were three votes short of the 60 votes they needed for the bill on a recent test vote.
Gillibrand and Schumer say the Senate could bring the bill to the floor as early as Tuesday, right after the vote on a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
The House has passed the original bill but would have to consider any new version.