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By Raymond Hernandez

WASHINGTON -- After years of fierce lobbying and debate, Congress approved a bill on Wednesday to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others who became sick from toxic fumes, dust and smoke after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

The $4.3 billion bill cleared its biggest hurdle early in the afternoon when the Senate unexpectedly approved it just 12 days after Republican senators had blocked a more expensive House version from coming to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

In recent days, Republican senators had been under fire for their opposition to the legislation.

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WELL, IT'S ABOUT TIME. This is an awesome follow-up to a previous post on this community regarding the matter. Anthony Weiner, I hope you're not angry anymore. :)
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TRENTON -- Stephen M. Sweeney, the president of the State Senate here, glowered with disgust as he described how one New Jersey town paid out nearly $1 million to four retiring police officers for their unused sick days and vacation time.

Mr. Sweeney, a Democrat, also scowled about the estimated $46 billion New Jersey owes in pension contributions and its $58 billion in liabilities to finance retiree health coverage for government employees.

For years, Republican lawmakers have railed against public employees' pay and benefits, but now another breed of elected official is demanding labor concessions, too: current and former labor leaders and allies themselves.

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I'm siding with the public workers on this one; if librarians or teachers made decent wages, do you think I'd be studying for a PharmD so I can work for Big Pharma? I'd at least take the slow track (eight years instead of six) so I could enjoy myself and get a Linguistics degree. Shit, even the scientists at the FDA barely make half of what people in comparable private sectors do.

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