Rep. Maloney: 9/11 Bill 'Should Have Passed Nine Years Ago’; Obama ‘With Us in Spirit’

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:

A deal is at hand – finally – to pass the bill providing health benefits and compensation to 9/11 first responders.

To some members of the New York congressional delegation, it caps a nine-year-old fight.

“It is so fair, it is so right, it should have passed nine years ago,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., told us today. “On 9/11 we lost 3,000 people. But thousands and thousands more lost their health because of their work there, and we need to take care of them.”

“I'm so pleased and hope the country will have good tidings that we're taking care of our heroes and heroines. I cannot think of a more appropriate Christmas present to America than taking care of the veterans of the war against terror, the people that are there, the line of first defense to save and help our country.”

Maloney has been critical of President Obama for not working harder to pass the first responders bill, but said “he’s with us in spirit” even if he hasn’t been vocal in his support.

Maloney also called the Census results released yesterday “very bad news for the Democratic Party” because population has drained out of traditionally Democratic areas, and into Republican strongholds.

New York State will lose two House seats. While Maloney said that’s mostly because of population losses in upstate New York, it could have repercussions downstate, in New York City and its suburbs.

“I would guarantee you that one -- one seat would be from upstate New York, where we're experiencing population loss. In the city of New York, we are gaining population. I've gained population in the district that I am honored to represent,” Maloney said.

“But this is always a very political process, and the fact that the [state] Assembly is Democratic, the Senate is Republican -- it will be a bipartisan trading and negotiation to determine where that second seat will be,” she said.

Watch the full interview with Rep. Carolyn Maloney HERE.

Also on today’s “Top Line,” we checked in with Politico’s Jonathan Allen about the frantic end of the 111 th Congress, plus the various coalitions President Obama pieced together to make things happen in the waning days.

Watch “Top Line” HERE and HERE.

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