[Updated at 3:59 p.m] A bill to provide health benefits for emergency workers who were first on the scene of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks won approval Wednesday from the U.S. House.
The measure passed on a mostly partisan 268-160 vote. The Senate has yet to act on the issue.
[Posted at 7:47 a.m] A bill that would cover health care expenses incurred by thousands of first responders, clean-up workers and residents in the September 11 attacks and clean-up at the World Trade Center site is expected to come up for a vote in the House Wednesday.
The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was first introduced in Congress in February of 2009. The bill's sponsors want it to pay for long-term medical needs associated with chronic respiratory and digestive problems that doctors and researchers have linked to toxins at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks. The legislation would also pay for treatment of mental health issues and compensate people for economic losses.
According to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, one of the billâ€™s co-sponsors, more than 13,000 people are being treated for illnesses related to September 11 and nearly 53,000 take part in a medical monitoring program.
When the bill was first introduced, it had a price tag of $10.5 billion. That has since been shaved down to $7.4 billion. CNNâ€™s Steve Kastenbaum spoke with Gabriele Pacino, a construction worker who took part in the clean-up effort, as well the manâ€™s doctor.
Listen to the report here: