Congress passes aid package for 9/11 first responders

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 ofbreathing dust from the ruins.

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

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

New York members of Congress had sought $2 billion more. Theyaccepted the smaller amount in exchange for GOP critics droppingtheir opposition.

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