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.

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Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnCongress, stop using our nation's military policy for political purposes Congress must rid itself of political 'pork' to preserve its integrity 'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress 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 CoatsDan CoatsOvernight Cybersecurity: Kushner says no collusion, improper contacts with Russia | House poised to vote on Russia sanctions | U.S., Japan to beef up cyber cooperation Trump intel chief: No agencies dispute Russian election meddling Obama intel chief wonders if Trump is trying to make 'Russia great again' MORE (Ind.), Coburn, Bob CorkerBob CorkerCorker: 'We still have a lot of work to do' on Russia sanctions The Hill's 12:30 Report Iran nuclear deal still under threat — US must keep its end of the bargain MORE (Tenn.), John CornynJohn CornynMcCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Overnight Healthcare: Trump pressures GOP ahead of vote | McConnell urges Senate to start debate | Cornyn floats conference on House, Senate bills | Thune sees progress on Medicaid Cornyn floats conference of House, Senate healthcare bills MORE (Texas), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamMcCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Week ahead: Senate defense bill faces delay Week ahead: Uncertainty surrounds ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (S.C.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonUnhappy senators complain about healthcare process Cruz: Tax reform chances ‘drop significantly’ if healthcare fails GOP frets over stalled agenda MORE (Wis.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Mike LeeMike LeeDeMint to launch new conservative group: report Senate healthcare bill appears headed for failure Small farmers push for USDA reforms MORE (Utah) and John McCainJohn McCainMcCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Senate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Overnight Healthcare: Trump pressures GOP ahead of vote | McConnell urges Senate to start debate | Cornyn floats conference on House, Senate bills | Thune sees progress on Medicaid MORE (Ariz.) voted against the amendment.

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