(WASHINGTON) -- A group of senators from New York and New Jersey Tuesday joined with dozens of first responders to blast Republican opposition to the 9/11 health bill as the measure's chances of passage dim with each passing day before Christmas.
"I believe we have the votes to prevail. The only thing standing in our way is people who will try to run out the clock," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Schumer was referring to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who has vowed to oppose the bill -- a move that could derail its chances of passage since every bit of time is precious as Christmas approaches.
Earlier Tuesday Coburn, a doctor, told Fox News that the bill's chances of passage are "doubtful."
"Their hearts are in a good place. Their heads [are] not in a good place," Coburn said of the bill's supporters. "We can do this next year, and we should."
"This is a bill," he said, "that's been drawn up and forced through Congress at the end of the year on a basis to solve a problem that we didn't have time to solve and we didn't get done."
Tuesday Schumer fired back, "That is not fair, not right, and that flies in the face of America."
"Please don't stop this bill," he pleaded. "If it doesn't happen now it is unlikely to ever happen again."
John Feal, the founder of the FealGood foundation, a non-profit organization pushing for the bill's passage -- ripped into Coburn.
"Where's his heart?" asked Feal. "Because it's not in the right place. These men and women behind me have gone eight Christmases suffering without any help from the federal government, so I question his heart."
"This man is a doctor. He took an oath to help people. He shouldn't be a senator and he shouldn't be a doctor if he's going to go out there and attack this bill. A doctor who's against helping people who are sick? Figure that out," said Feal.
Feal urged Congress to act on the bill before it adjourns for the year, and also lashed out at President Obama during the press conference, who Feal accuses of not doing enough to push the bill. "What happened that our president can't come out and support heroes? Someone please answer that," Feal pleaded.
His criticism of Obama was echoed by Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who called out Obama: "Mr. President, please step up to the mound." Maloney said.
Even if the Senate passes the bill in the final days before Christmas, the holiday could still present an obstacle because the House would have to pass it again due to the recent changes. While the House could ultimately pass the bill by unanimous consent, there is no guarantee that it would be able to before time on the year's legislative clock runs out.
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