MENENDEZ ON 9/11 BILL: HOUSE REPUBLICANS PLAYING POLITICS WITH AMERICA’S SECURITY

WASHINGTON, DC -- House Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today made the following statement on the Menendez Amendment during debate on H.R. 10, the House Republican 9/11 bill, which falls far short in its implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.  The Menendez Amendment merges two bi-partisan Senate bills (Collins/Lieberman, S. 2845; McCain/Lieberman, S.2774) endorsed by the 9/11 Commission, and supported by a majority of 9/11 families. 

The Menendez Amendment establishes a National Intelligence Director and makes improvements in intelligence activities; modifies laws relating to intelligence community management; establishes diplomatic means and provides foreign aid to combat terrorism; provides an integrated screening system and improves counterterrorist travel intelligence; enhances transportation security; provides resources to improve national preparedness and assist local first responders; and establishes a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.  Menendez made the following statement:

“To vote for anything less than the 9/11 Commission's recommendations is a disservice not only to the 9/11 families, but to the memory of over 2,900 people murdered in cold blood that fateful day over three years ago.

“There is a real consequence to enacting the House Republican bill -- legislation that appears to try to do something about homeland security, but that leaves us far short of where the 9/11 Commission and the families have said we need to be.  The People’s House is obligated to serve this nation and those families well by truly protecting our country from further terrorist attacks.  On this one issue, we need to put partisanship aside.

“In fact, my substitute is identical to the bipartisan Shays/Maloney substitute amendment that was taken before the Rules Committee, which has been endorsed by the 9/11 Commissioners and the 9/11 families.  In fact, Congressman Shays and other members asked that the Shays/Maloney substitute be made in order.  The Rules Committee did exactly that by making the Menendez substitute in order.  And after a 96-2 vote yesterday in the Senate on legislation very similar to this substitute, the principles and provisions of this amendment are also supported by Senate Republicans and Senate and House Democrats."