WASHINGTON D.C. - (AP) - Senate Republicans have blocked a bill to aidpeople who got sick after exposure to dust from the World TradeCenter's collapse.

Supporters fell short Thursday of the 60 votes needed to advancethe bill to provide as much as $7.4 billion in health care andcompensation to 9/11 responders and survivors.

Backers of the legislation see this lame-duck session ofCongress as possibly its last chance. The bill has passed theHouse.

New York and New Jersey lawmakers have fought for years for themeasure. Critics question its cost and whether the government couldensure the money would go only to people sickened by trade centerdust.

Republican senators have promised not to consider any otherbills until the Senate acts on funding the government and extendingtax cuts.