"Mr. Speaker, our commemoration of September 11th is a solemn occasion. It is a day of remembrance and resolve. We remember those who perished or were injured five years ago in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania due to the evil acts of men consumed by a murderous ideology. We mourn the loss of the innocent, and we pray for their loved ones. We also recall the heroism of the first responders - and in many cases of civilians turned rescuers - who put their own lives in harm's way as they sought to help others.
"Their selflessness - on a day of fire, destruction and death - reminds us of the courageous American spirit and it renews our faith in humankind. The commemoration of 9/11 also is a time for this Congress to express our collective national resolve. We resolve to protect the American people and our beloved homeland; to combat and defeat the perpetrators of terrorism and tyranny; and to fight for freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.
"Now, the Resolution before us today, in many respects, is unobjectionable. I do not quarrel, for example, with the propriety of any of the 'resolved' clauses in this measure. This Resolution commemorating the worst terrorist attack on American soil in our history - a wound that has not yet healed - ought to be a unifying document that virtually every single Member of this House can support without reservation.
"Let me say, I have talked directly to the Majority Leader (Mr. Boehner) about the strong desire on the Democratic side of the aisle to present a Resolution that brings all of us together. Yet, despite the fact that the Senate passed a 9/11 Resolution this year by unanimous consent and despite the fact that this body passed a 9/11 Resolution last year by a vote of 402 to 6, the Republican leadership still attempts to gain political advantage through this measure. The Majority presents a Resolution that includes extraneous, inappropriate, divisive, self-serving and politically motivated language.
"I ask my Republican friends: What is the point of including a reference, in this Resolution, to controversial legislation that has not even become law? Specifically, I refer to the mention of the House Republicans' immigration reform bill. The reference to this bill - which is opposed by even many Republicans - has no place in a Resolution commemorating this solemn occasion.
"It is deeply regrettable, Mr. Speaker, that on this, the fifth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in our history, the Republican leadership has made political expedience a priority. Like the Senate, we should be voting on a Resolution designed to inspire unity, not sow division."