Despite affecting the Justice Department instead of the Defense Department, Leahy said the amendment was important because it helps take care of families of all first responders by clarifying existing benefits.

Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (R-Okla.) opposed the bill, not because he doesn’t think it’s a good cause, he said, but because he thinks it goes beyond the role of the federal government.

“This is a great example of why we have $88 trillion in unfunded liabilities, because we’re doing a function that is truly the job of the states,” Coburn said on the floor before the vote Wednesday. “We spend $85 million a year on this program and I’m not saying that it’s not a needed program for the families but it’s not a federal responsibility.”

Republican Sens. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsPutin can learn from Gorbachev on how to gain from future US talks GOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee NSA nominee sails through second confirmation hearing MORE (Ind.), Coburn, Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump signs massive spending bill, backing away from veto threat The Hill's 12:30 Report Deficit hawks encourage Trump veto of spending bill MORE (Tenn.), John CornynJohn CornynSenate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump GOP senator threatened to hold up bill over provision to honor late political rival: report Overnight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate MORE (Texas), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBernie Sanders to Trump: Firing Mueller 'an impeachable offense' The Memo: Lawyer’s exit signals harder line by Trump Senators introduced revised version of election cyber bill MORE (S.C.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate GOP pushes to change Senate rules for Trump House passes 'right to try' drug bill MORE (Wis.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeConservatives balk over funding bill ahead of shutdown  Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support MORE (Utah) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain asks Trump's CIA pick to explain ties to torture Petraeus: Haspel will explain actions in nomination hearing Afghanistan is our longest war ever and Congress has abandoned all responsibility MORE (Ariz.) voted against the amendment.

The Senate continues to consider amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 3254, Wednesday evening.