9/11 health act supporters plan rally after bill fails

December 10, 2010 4:07:12 AM PST
Supporters of the September 11th health care bill are planning a rally Friday afternoon at ground zero.

They are vowing to make a comeback after the bill went down to defeat Thursday.

The bill would have provided as much as $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to first responders and survivors.

It fell three votes short of what was needed to move to a final vote.

Republican Senators made good on their promise not to pass any other legislation until the tax cut deal is done.

Backers of the legislation see this lame-duck session of Congress as possibly its last chance. The bill has passed the House.

The defeat was a huge blow to New York and New Jersey lawmakers who have long fought for the measure, arguing it's morally wrong to not do more for the health needs of ailing 9/11 responders and survivors.

"We should not have to wait for tax deals to do what's right," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a lead advocate of the bill.

Facing long odds, supporters will try to attach the 9/11 bill to the legislation that emerges from the tax deal. They'll also press for another vote once the tax issue is settled.

Critics questioned whether the bill is affordable and does enough to ensure that only people with illnesses related to trade center dust get help.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)