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Congress Poised To Expedite 9/11 Responders Bill Over GOP Objections

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Newscom

The Senate is expected to end the filibuster this afternoon, shortly after ratifying the START treaty. Under normal circumstances, angry Republicans could force Democrats to wait around for an additional 30 hours before allowing a final up or down vote on the bill. But it looks like that won't happen this time, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will be playing wide receiver -- keeping the House in session to drag the bill across the finish line.

"[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] indicates that he believes he can get a bill to me" this afternoon, Hoyer said this morning on the Bill Press radio show.

Opponents of the bill, lead by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), call the bill a "new entitlement" and object to the fact that it's paid for by closing foreign corporate tax loophole. Coburn has also complained that the bill hasn't traveled through normal legislative channels on its way to the Senate floor. In fact, he penned a seven-page memo explaining his objections at length.

In the end, though, the political potency of the issue helped Democrats round up enough votes to beat back Coburn's objections. Just yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs praised "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart for helping to bring public pressure to bear on Congress to pass the bill.

"I think he has put the awareness around this legislation -- he's put that awareness into what you guys cover each day, and I think that's good," Gibbs said. "I hope he can convince two Republicans to support taking care of those that took care of so many on that awful day in our history."