By Julian Pecquet - 07/27/10 09:29 PM EDT
A bill guaranteeing healthcare for first responders to the World Trade Center site is scheduled for a House floor vote Wednesday, The Hill has learned.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would formally authorize health programs that have been appropriated for the past several years. The bill, which would cover 50,000 responders and survivors in the wake of 9/11 attacks, creates a mandatory spending program until it sunsets 10 years from now.
Some Republicans argue it's unfair to create an entitlement for 9/11 responders when military veterans’ healthcare must go through annual appropriations.
The bipartisan bill has 115 co-sponsors. Its lead sponsors are New Yorkers Carolyn Maloney (D), Jerrold Nadler (D) and Peter King (R); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has sponsored the Senate companion.
The bill is being brought up under a special procedure used to speed up parliamentary action, known as suspension of the rules. That means the bill will be debated for 40 minutes, no amendments will be allowed and, most importantly, it will need a two-thirds majority for passage.