House passes 9/11 health bill

On its second attempt in as many months, the House passed legislation providing long-term health care solutions for first responders who became ill in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847) (.pdf file) passed Wednesday with a 268-160 vote. If signed into law, the bill would establish first responder and community treatment and monitoring programs to help those affected by exposure to toxic air and debris after the attacks.

During a debate, several Republicans voiced concerns that the bill would raise taxes, hurt businesses and eliminate jobs. That assertion was rejected by Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY). "This is not a tax question, this is a moral question," he said.

The bill previously failed in a 255-159 vote on July 29, when it fell short of the two-thirds majority required to pass. The bill now moves to the Senate, which also has a version of the bill (S. 1334) in committee.

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