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Spending bill would extend health care to 9/11 responders

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New York City firefighters hug each other during rescue operations at the World Trade Center after two hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers September 11, 2001 in New York. (Photo by Ron Agam/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — First responders who became ill after rushing to the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks and spent weeks cleaning up the site are poised to get federal health benefits for the rest of their lives.

A year-end spending bill released early Wednesday morning and expected to pass this week would extend federal health monitoring and treatment for Sept. 11 first responders through 2090, making the program essentially permanent. The program treats victims who were exposed to toxic dust at the site. It expired this past fall.

In addition to the health fund, the legislation would pay an additional $4.6 billion into a compensation fund for the victims and extend it for five years. It would also create a new fund to compensate U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism.

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