Nightly News | December 22, 2010
>> now to kelly o'donnell on the hill. kelly , starting with that 9/11 health and compensation bill, most americans are not used to seeing this amount of change with you are in such a short time.
>> reporter: brian , it's amazing to think one day after emotional appeals from first responders, tons of media pressure and the clock ticking down, congress did pass that 9/11 bill. it helps to pay for medical needs of survivors and workers at ground zero who are suffering serious, even deadly illnesses. first responder john seal says he finally has peace of mind .
>> to me, that's better than opening any christmas present this year, and it's because of everybody's hard work that this christmas will be the best christmas that i've ever done.
>> reporter: it happened because democrats and republicans negotiated really hard this morning to cut down the overall cost of the bill to $4 billion, and to tighten up some of the program's requirements. brian ?
>> going back, and whether you agree with the legislation or not, starting with health care , financial reform, stimulus, it has been a mountain that they have passed, though like every session, there's a mountain they leave behind.
>> reporter: well, if you go back to the 1960s , that's the last time we saw a congress that could get so much done affecting so many american lives. now, democrats use their big majorities to get action on things like the economic stimulus , health care reform , financial regulatory reform . remember cash for clunkers? the fair pay act for women. and then the republicans gained their big steam in november, they came back for the lame duck session , which was surprisingly able, like the s.t.a.r.t. treaty, the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, the tax cut extensions, and a food safety bill. and brian , in just two weeks, a new congress comes back to work here with more than 100 new members.
>> kelly o'donnell on the hill tonight. kelly , thanks.