(202) 225 - 3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations conference report. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Mr. Speaker, this is a critically important day for this Congress - and, indeed, our nation.
"We have no higher duty than to protect the American people, to
defend our homeland, and to strengthen our national security.
"And, we know - nearly six years after the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001 - that Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network continue to present a real, serious threat to the American homeland.
"In fact, the most recent National Intelligence Estimate, released just this month, states: 'The group [al-Qaeda] has been able to restore key capabilities it would need to launch an attack on U.S. soil: a safe haven in Pakistan's tribal areas, operational lieutenants and senior leaders.'
"Thus today, with this conference report implementing the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, we will be taking an enormous step forward in hardening our nation's defenses and combating - and eliminating - the terrorists who seek to harm us.
"For three years, the Commission's recommendations languished. The Commission itself even gave the previous Congress five F's, 12 D's, nine C's and two incompletes for failing to implement these measures.
"Today, we make this top national security priority - the first major bill considered in this new Congress - a reality. And, I believe we will adopt this Conference Report - which passed the Senate 85 to 8 - with strong bipartisan support.
"This legislation, among other things, will substantially improve our homeland security by:
"Additionally, this Conference Report seeks to reduce extremism by enhancing the International Arab and Muslim Youth Opportunity Fund and establishing a Middle East Foundation that will promote economic opportunities, education reform, human rights and democracy in the Middle East.