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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following remarks today at a press conference with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, Edward Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims to unveil a new report detailing Republican failures on homeland security:
"On Monday, our nation commemorates the fifth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in our nation's history. 9/11 is a solemn day of remembrance and resolve. We will - and we must - defeat and destroy terrorists who intend to harm our nation and our people.
"But this is also a time to honestly and responsibly assess our nation's security - and, yes, its continuing vulnerabilities. The fact is, we are not as safe today as we could - and should - be. Osama bin Laden is still at large. The Bush Administration and this Republican Congress have still failed to enact the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. In fact, the Commission gave the Administration and Congress a grade of "D" for their efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction; a "D" for government-side information sharing; and an "F" for airline passenger screening. Meanwhile, the nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran have increased; the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan; and our military is in the middle of a low-grade civil war in Iraq.
"It's no wonder that Tom Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, recently commented: 'We're not protecting our own people in this country. The government is not doing its job.' Nor is it any wonder that the President and Congressional Republicans are trying to deflect attention from their record and sow fear among the American people.
"It's clear: Republicans are trying to shift people's focus from Iraq and the increasingly obvious gaps in our security. They are focused on the next election. Democrats, on the other hand, are focused on making our country as safe as it can and should be.
"In March, House Democrats introduced our Real Security agenda, outlining our national security priorities. On Tuesday, I joined Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and other Senate Leaders in releasing a Third Way report that details the Administration's mistakes and miscalculations that have made our nation less safe. Yesterday, Senate Democrats introduced legislation that incorporates the ideas of the Real Security agenda. And today, I am very pleased to join Ranking Member Thompson in releasing this important report, which not only documents Republican failures but also details substantive Democratic national security proposals.
"Just this week, a CBS News/New York Times poll found that only 14 percent of Americans feel safer than they did on 9/11. Thirty-nine percent say they feel less safe. This poll reflects the fact that we are not doing all that we can - and must - do to protect our nation and our people. Democrats know what needs to be done -- and we will continue to fight until we make our country as safe as it can be."
To read the full report, click here.