Congress expected to pass bill extending benefits for 9/11 first responders

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Congress Expected to Pass Bill Expanding Benefits for 9/11 First Responders

NEW YORK – It's a victory for the thousands of the first responders who spent months working at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks on September 11th.

Congress announced the victims are set to receive lifetime medical care for the illnesses.

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The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act is included in the must-pass $1.1 trillion spending package – also referred to as the omnibus – making what is essentially a permanent extension to the health care program for our first responders.

Congressional leaders and the White House reached an agreement on the package late Tuesday night.

See how the nation marked 9/11 this year:

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Nation commemorates 9/11 anniversary
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Congress expected to pass bill extending benefits for 9/11 first responders
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and others, pause on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, as they observe a moment of silence to mark the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Zachary Ellicott, a firefighter in Stanhope, NJ, Mitch Ellicott, a lieutenant with the Sussex County Sherrif's office and father to Zach and Benjamin, and Benjamin Ellicott, a firefighter in Stanhope, NJ, take a moment to remember a family member lost in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Today marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks where nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A U.S. flag is draped on the side of the Pentagon, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, where the building was attacked on September 11th in 2001, on the 14th anniversary of the attack. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Law enforcement officials stand at attention during a singing of the national anthem during an anniversary ceremony commemorating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Today marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks where nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Yachiyo Kuge, the mother of Toshiya Kuge, of Japan, who was a passenger on Flight 93, carries a lantern to place at her daughter's name on the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Thursday, Sept 10, 2015. The new $26 million visitors’ complex is expected to draw a larger crowd than normal for the 14th anniversary observance at the Flight 93 National Memorial. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Elena Lazar (R), who lost her son, Eugene Gabriel Lazar, in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is comforted by her son's at-the-time girlfriend Siu Chong, on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Today marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks where nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 11: A man walks past a row of American flags that have been lowered to half staff on the Washington Monument grounds, near the US Capitol on September 11, 2015 in Washington, DC. Today marks the fourteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks when terroristists high jacked airliners and flew them in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - SEPTEMBER 11: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter lays a wreath during an observance ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial September 11, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. The nation remembered the lives that were lost in the 9/11 attacks on its 14th anniversary. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
NATO forces observes a moment of silence during a memorial ceremony on the fourteenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States at the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Paul Bloess, of Levittown, NY, holds his son, Maxavater Bloess, age 10, in a moment of silence at the 9-11 memorial site on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Today marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks where nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A family member of a 9/11 victim attends the14th Anniversary ceremony at the 9/11 memorial on September 11, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand attend the 14th Anniversary ceremony of the terrorist attacks at the 9/11 memorial on September 11, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO/KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Army Sgt. Edwin Morales prays during a ceremony at the World Trade Center site in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. With a moment of silence and somber reading of names, victims' relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero.(AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 11: U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, joined by White House staff, stand as Taps is played on the 14th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, at the White House on September 11, 2015 in Washington, DC. Today marks the fourteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks when terroristists high jacked airliners and flew them in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
A group holds flags as they prepare to run while they stand inside the "Empty Sky" memorial to New Jersey's victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, early Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
The names are seen on the "Empty Sky" memorial to New Jersey's victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as One World Trade Center, center left, stands on the 14th anniversary, early Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Jersey City, N.J. Victims' relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero, with a moment of silence and somber reading of names. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Gary Mascitis, age 14, remembers his uncle during an anniversary ceremony commemorating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Today marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks where nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Port Authority Police officers prepare to present an American flag that survived the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, during an anniversary ceremony on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Today marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks where nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
People walk amongst US national flags erected by students and staff from Pepperdine University to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, at their campus in Malibu, California on September 10, 2015. The students placed some 3,000 flags in the ground in tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims lost in the attacks almost 14 years ago. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., participate in a memorial service Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, as the nation marks the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
SHANKSVILLE, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: A visitor views a display at the visitor center at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 10, 2015 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The newly opened $26 million visitor center complex was dedicated in honor of the victims of Flight 93 on the evening of the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
A NATO service member takes part in a memorial ceremony on the fourteenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States at the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: An American flag sits posted at the 9-11 Memorial site on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Today marks the 14th anniversary of the attacks where nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Lower Manhattan is viewed on September 11, 2015 in New York City. Throughout the nation people are holding somber gatherings and memorial events to reflect on the 14-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that resulted in the loss of nearly 3,000 people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Remember Congress has been slow to act, even with the overwhelming bipartisan support for the legislation. This drew anger from comedian Jon Stewart, who visited Capitol Hill twice this fall to bring attention to the cause even starting the #WorstResponders started trending on Twitter.

Here's what it would do:

While the health care portion of the Zadroga Act is extended through 2090, the other component, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is only extended for an additional five years and adds $4.6 billion to pay claims.

The legislation provides that all injured responders and survivors that have already received an award determined will not see cuts to their awards and will get them a year earlier than expected.

There are also some changes to the process for those responders who have not yet received an award. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the deal Thursday.

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