By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg will travel to Washington again on Tuesday to lobby lawmakers to pass a health care bill for 9/11 responders before Congress changes hands.
But passage of the bill, which has been opposed by Republicans, may depend on Democrats' ability to bring it to a vote before their majority shrinks from 59 to 53.
The Mayor told reporters Monday that his strategy will be to lobby Republican senators who might be willing to come on board.
"Obviously we try to target those who have expressed some interest in the past in the topic," he said. "My focus is going to be on that."
On the mayor's list of possible swing voters are Sens. Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Scott Brown and John McCain.
Supporters of the bill will likely need 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster, according to the New York Times.
"I will make the case to a number of senators that there are people that would be covered from their state," he said, adding, "This is what's right to do for those people that came to our defense."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she is also working to bring Republicans around to the legislation, which calls for $7.4 billion in research, treatment and compensation funds for 9/11 responders who were exposed to toxic dust during the rescue and recovery efforts.
"I’m talking to Republicans every day about the merits of this legislation, and the mayor, Congressman [Peter] King and others are a very important part of our strategy to secure Republican votes," Gillibrand said in a statement, according to the Times. "We have a moral obligation to pass this bill."
Jill Colvin contributed reporting.