Leader Hoyer on Enacting the 9/11 Commission Recommendations

thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, it is no mere coincidence that this TimeCode: 15:14:43.3 legislation, which will implement the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 commission is designated as house resolution number 1 in this new congress. our first and highest responsibility as members of TimeCode: 15:15:00.6 this congress is to protect the american people, to defend our homeland and to strengthen our national security. the fact is, our nation today five and a half years after the TimeCode: 15:15:17.4 attacks of september 11 is still not as safe as it should and must be. . as one observed just a few months ago, we're not protecting our own people in this country. TimeCode: 15:15:34.4 the government is not doing its job. that is the former republican governor of new jersey, the co-chair of the commission. today, however, through this important legislation, this house will take a vital step forward in protecting our people TimeCode: 15:15:52.5 and our nation. we have taken steps. there is no doubt about that. we have taken steps together in a bipartisan way. but we have not taken all the steps we could take. and that is the point of the gentleman from mississippi, and TimeCode: 15:16:07.4 i support his contention. this legislation, among other things, was substantially improved our homeland security. by doing the following -- significantly increasing the share of state homeland security grants provided among the basis TimeCode: 15:16:22.5 of risk. i know that my good friend, the former chairman of the committee, agrees with that proposition. in fact, we passed it through this house. unfortunately the senate did not. creating a standalone grant program for interoperable program for first responders. TimeCode: 15:16:39.8 kirk wheldon and i have chaired for a long time the fire service caucus. interoperability is a critical issue for our country and for our security. phasing in a requirement of 100% inspection of air cargo over the next three years. TimeCode: 15:16:55.8 and 100% scanning of u.s.-bound shipping containers over the next five years. how can we have security in america if literally thousands of tons of cargo is being shipped in either by air or TimeCode: 15:17:12.9 ships that we don't know its content. accelerating checked baggage. furthermore, h.r. 1 will prevent terrorists from acquiring TimeCode: 15:17:29.3 weapons of mass destruction. it will strengthen the cooperative threat reduction program. strengthen efforts to eliminate a black market network. i would think all of us would TimeCode: 15:17:44.0 want to see those objectives TimeCode: 15:17:48.1 accomplished. additionally, mr. speaker, h.r. 1 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, TimeCode: 15:18:03.7 education reform, human rights and democracy in the middle east, all of which was proposed by governor cane, mr. hamilton and unanimously the 9/11 commission. it also bears noting, mr. speaker, that this bill will TimeCode: 15:18:19.5 strengthen the privacy of the civil liberties board and making an independent agency and granting the board subpoena power. i mentioned these provisions because i believe they demonstrate that they can TimeCode: 15:18:32.7 improve our security without compromising the democratic principles upon which this great nation was founded. let no one, however, be mistaken. this legislation alone, nor perhaps any legislation can immunize our nation from attack. TimeCode: 15:18:49.7 however, it represents an important step forward for our national security. that is why we wanted to accomplish it during the first 00 hours. -- 100 hours. TimeCode: 15:19:09.1 lee hamilton said, the bottom line is, if this bill, h.r. 1 a enacted, funding and implemented, then the american people will be safer. that is our objective. i am confident that is the objective of every member of TimeCode: 15:19:24.2 this house, democrat or republican. that is our responsibility. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, mr. speaker, to support this critically important piece of legislation. i yield back the balance of my time.