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Congress Passes Measure to Aid 9-11 First Responders

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By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Congress has passed a $4.2 billion aid package for survivors of the September 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and responders who develop illnesses because of breathing dust from the ruins.

The House passed the bill on a 206-60 vote Wednesday about two hours after the Senate cleared it. President Barack Obama has said he is eager to sign it.

The package provides money to monitor rescue and cleanup workers and treat illnesses related to Ground Zero. It also reopens a victims’ compensation fund for another five years to cover wage and other economic losses of sickened workers and nearby residents.

New York members of Congress had sought $2 billion more. They accepted the smaller amount in exchange for GOP critics dropping their opposition.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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