Vote on 9/11 Health Care Bill to Come This Week

On Monday, after years of slow progress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to file for cloture on the

On Monday, after years of slow progress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to file for cloture on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Care Bill, according to a release sent by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office this morning.

“When I first introduced this bill in the Senate last year, no one thought we would make it to this point,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Due to the tireless effort of so many first responders and survivors, after nine long years we are close to fulfilling our duty to the 9/11 heroes, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

That work includes convincing one more Republican Senator to vote for cloture. The bill currently has 59 votes, but only one Republican, Mark Kirk of Illinois, who was recently sworn in after winning the special election for President Obama’s former Senate seat.

The New York delegation is doing whatever it can to put the pressure on Senate Republicans before debate begins on the bill, which is likely to occur Wednesday.

Mayor Bloomberg met with several Republican senators in a visit to the Hill last month, which was followed by a press conference with most of the New York delegation and a few dozen 9/11 responders. And, in case some Senators missed that, supporters recently unveiled an exhibit of 29 police badges–belonging to members of the NYPD who died as a result of 9/11 related illnesses–which is now on display in the Russell Senate Office Building.

On a conference call last week, Gillibrand said she and Senator Schumer were still working to find the 60th vote to prevent a filibuster, and that the primary concern she was hearing from Republicans was how to pay for the $7.4 billion dollar bill. The version that passed the House last month closes some tax loopholes for foreign corporations.

“The 9/11 heroes deserve an up or down vote,” Gillibrand said in this morning’s statement. “Let’s put politics aside, engage in a thorough and respectful debate, and then let each senator decide for themselves whether the heroes and victims of September 11th deserve quality health treatment and appropriate compensation for their tremendous loss and sacrifice.”

UPDATE: Senator Schumer’s office sent along the following statement. “This will be a moment of truth to see who will stand up for our heroes. We will spend the next four days scouring the Senate for that one more Republican we need. We are leaving no stone unturned in trying to find that last vote.” 

Vote on 9/11 Health Care Bill to Come This Week