WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer spoke on the House floor today in support of the bipartisan intelligence reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission and supported by House Democrats. House Republicans instead have chosen to back an alternative bill which excludes many of the Commission’s recommendations and fails to address serious threats to our nation’s security. The following is Rep. Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, today, we must undertake the most important task entrusted to us – our responsibility to protect the American people, to defend our borders and to preserve our way of life against those who already have, and those who would again, do us harm.
“Specifically, we must address the shortcomings in our nation’s defenses that were exploited by murderers who killed 3,000 unsuspecting, innocent people on American soil on September 11th. Too many of these shortcomings have simply gone unaddressed in the last three years.
“After months of painstaking and bipartisan work, the 9/11 Commission produced a thoughtful roadmap to guide our efforts at shoring up our intelligence and homeland security capabilities. The Senate accepted this roadmap, began working immediately in a bipartisan manner on it, and has produced legislation supported by the families of the 9/11 victims, the commissioners, and 96 members of the Senate.
“Regrettably, yet again, the House Republican leadership has chosen to legislate in an exclusionary, partisan process, resulting in a bill that not only falls short of many of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, but also contains divisive, extraneous provisions. Many of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, have expressed their concerns about the unnecessary expansion of law enforcement authority, the undermining of immigrants’ fundamental rights, and the erosion of basic civil liberties contained in H.R. 10. I share those concerns.
“I also am troubled that this House bill fails to adequately address the gravest threat to our national security – terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction. H.R. 10 fails to strengthen the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction program, which is designed to prevent these weapons from failing into the hands of terrorists, as the Commission recommended and as the Senate bill does.
“This legislation represents a missed opportunity to learn lessons from September 11th and to implement meaningful improvements to our ability to better detect, prevent, and respond to future terrorist attacks.
“I urge my colleagues to support the Menendez substitute. It mirrors the bill passed by the Senate, which incorporates the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and it will allow us to better fulfill our sacred duty of protecting the American people."