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Senators Spar Over Zadroga Bill; Gillibrand Hopeful

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Gillibrand, Schumer, McCain (Photos/Getty Images)

Gillibrand, Schumer, McCain (Photos/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An outraged Senator Charles Schumer went head to head with Arizona Senator John McCain Friday over comments he made about the stalled 9/11 healthcare bill.

It all started when McCain, upset over a time limit on debate regarding the START missile treaty with Russia, took to the Senate floor and questioned the limit in comparison to the “fooling around” on the DREAM Act and “on New York City.”

McCain’s apparent reference to the The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act got Schumer’s attention.

“When the Senator from New York, Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand and myself and so many others are pushing hard for the Zadroga Bill, we are not fooling around. We are fulfilling our duty,” Schumer said.

The bill is named after a New York City police officer, who died of respiratory disease attributed to his exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

It would provide billions to monitor and treat those first responders who are still struggling with illnesses and injuries from their service on September 11.

McCain said his remarks about the bill were misinterpreted and said he was simply talking about the time being taken up in debate.

“For the senator from New York to somehow interpret that as [being critical] of the bill itself of course is an incredible stretch of the imagination, and…I resent it,” McCain said.

Meanwhile, on Good Morning America Saturday, Sen. Gillibrand said she was hopeful the bill would still pass during the current session.

“I don’t think the bill is in trouble. I think this bill is going to be the Christmas miracle of this session,” Gillibrand said.

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