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The $4.3 billion bill, which was passed on the final day of the 111th Congress, had been held up in the Senate for months by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and others who contended that the program would increase the federal deficit and could be vulnerable to fraud and abuse.
Normally a legislative victory like this would be accompanied by a formal signing ceremony at the White House. But to become law, the measure had to be signed by the president before he returns to Washington on Tuesday. So instead, the White House released a photo of Obama signing the bill.
In the nine years since the terrorist attacks, hundreds of rescue workers who responded to Ground Zero have become ill or even died from serious respiratory problems. The bill was named for James Zadroga, a New York City police detective who worked on the rescue effort at the World Trade Center and whose death in 2006 was attributed to exposure to toxic fumes at the site.
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