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Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to congratulate my colleagues on their leadership and their willingness to come to the table to find a workable solution to ensure that we do not forget those who risked their lives on September 11, 2001.
Today, the Senate reached an agreement to move forward on legislation that would create a program dedicated exclusively to provide screening and treatment to the first responders and other men and women who participated in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center.
As I have said repeatedly, the work of my colleagues, Ms. GILLIBRAND and Mr. SCHUMER, are honorable and good. As I have said in every meeting that I have held--whether meeting with firefighters and police officers in Massachusetts, whether it be with Mayor Bloomberg of New York City or New York City Police Commissioner Kelly--I support their efforts and their good work and dedication to make sure that none of the heroes from September 11, 2001 are left behind or forgotten.
I support this agreement because it represents what the Senate should be about: coming together, working together, and finding common ground and workable solutions. Today, in the final hours of the 111th Congress, we did just that by providing benefits to the first responders in a realistic and pragmatic way.
But, M. President, I continue to have reservations regarding the offsets that are used to provide these benefits. As I have said to my colleagues, I am concerned because I am not 100 percent confident that the suggested offsets will materialize because of potential legal challenges or questionable trade implications.
We should not forget the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001. The lives that were risked that day. And those who continue to live with scars from that day. And I can assure you, we won't.
I am supporting this legislation because it provides access to the health care and treatment that our heroes deserve. And I greatly appreciate the input and patience of so many firefighters and first responders from my own state of Massachusetts, for whom I have tremendous respect and gratitude for all that they do.
Thank you, Mr. President. And I yield the floor.
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