The bill was one of the last measures Congress passed before adjourning in December. Some Republicans were concerned with how to pay for the bill and they tried to block the measure. But they dropped their opposition after lawmakers struck a compromise to reduce the costs
The bill was formerly known as the James Zadrogra bill, named for a former NYPD Detective who died of a respiratory disease in 2006 after spending days at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11th attacks. He was the first uniformed officer whose death was attributed to his exposure to toxins at the site.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who weeks ago vowed to work through the holiday season to make sure the bill was passed, commended the President earlier today on signing the law.
"Today’s victory is for the first responders, fire fighters, police officers, every family and every volunteer who never gave up and made sure that Congress fulfilled its duty to the 9/11 heroes," she said in a statement.
"We will always remember your sacrifice, and stand united behind you.”
The $4.2 billion measure will be paid for with a fee on some foreign companies that get U.S. government procurement contracts
Obama signed the bill from Hawaii, where he's vacationing with his family.