MS. HILL: Peter King is a New York congressman. He's the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, and joins us now. Thank you for being with us.
REP. KING: Thank you, E.D. Thank you very much.
MS. HILL: You know, this is significant because people are afraid of what happened in Minneapolis, what's going on right now. Passengers on a Northwest Airlines flight reported suspicious activity and the -- instead, the people that were taken off the plane are now suing the airline, the airline employees and the passengers. So how could people feel secure reporting something?
REP. KING: Well, first of all, E.D., people should feel afraid because that lawsuit, which was brought against six good people who reported suspicious activity, has a chilling effect. It means that you could lose your life savings, lose your home because you report suspicious activity to the police or to law enforcement.
I was able to pass an amendment last March which would give immunity to anyone who in good faith reports suspicious activity to the police. Now we're in a conference with the Senate to have that action put into final law, and it appears that Democrats in the Senate don't want this to go through. They are making parliamentary --
MS. HILL: And there are numbers --
REP. KING: Yeah?
MS. HILL: There are numbers to back you up. There was a vote taken last night, and Americans need to be aware of this. Of course, it's passed in the House, but over in the Senate, last night -- late last night -- they voted against adding this amendment, the "John Doe" provision, into the bill. Only eight Democrats voted for it, for protecting Americans who report suspicious activities. That's chilling.
REP. KING: It absolutely is. They are giving in to political correctness. They're afraid to stand up to special interests. They're allowing, really, I think, radical Islamic forces to influence them.
MS. HILL: But --
REP. KING: Now, we still have a chance, though. It's in a conference, and I'm hoping over the next several days -- Senator Lieberman is the chairman of the conference. I think he wants to do the right thing.
MS. HILL: He voted for it.
REP. KING: It's really important for the -- yeah. Oh yeah, he did vote for it. But again, it's also in a separate conference on the homeland security bill, and that's where we're trying to get it though.
MS. HILL: Help me take our viewers inside what's going on in Washington because, as I recall, just a few months ago, it seemed like everybody was onboard to support something just like this and voted for it. And now all of a sudden it's out of the limelight, it's in this conference committee, where things actually are where it gets done, and they're voting against it.
REP. KING: Unfortunately, too many Democrats I think privately are against it because even though it passed overwhelmingly in the House, E.D., a majority of House Democrats voted against it. I think it was 120 to 119 Democrats -- you know, 119 voted against this. The majority of Democrats voted against it; every Republican voted for it.
Now, when they're confronted they say really they want it, but they would love to see it go away without even having a vote just have it disappear, and that's the pressure that's on now. And I believe it's people like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi -- the American people have to let them know that they can't hide this in the dark of night. We want to vote on this. We want it out there. The overwhelming majority of the American people want it.
How can you have a homeland security bill, which is what they're trying to bill this as being -- how can you have a homeland security bill if you're not going to protect the people who report terrorist activity? "If you see something, say something." This is an absolute disgrace, what's happening.
MS. HILL: You know, that's what we're told. And in fact, if I go over the bridge here in New York City, it's got the sign flashing: "see something, say something." But what American in their right mind would if they could lose everything they have in a lawsuit? It just seems really crazy to me.
Something else that occurred to me as I was looking at the breakdown of the voting was that it was a real disconnect between the East Coast and a couple of, you know, states up north and the rest of the country. You know, there were people here, where you think the terrorism threat would be the highest, that were voting against it, with the exception of the New York senators.
REP. KING: Yeah, I can't understand this. All I can say is there's a political correctness in the Democratic Party. They don't want to take on any special interests at all. They have -- it's the left-wing liberal base which drives that party: MoveOn.org, George Soros, CAIR has an impact --you know, the radical Islamic organization. And also somehow they feel that if you're against Islamic terrorism, that's going to be perceived as being pro-George Bush.
MS. HILL: Right.
REP. KING: And they are so against the Bush administration that they vote against good-government legislation such as this because they think somehow it's going to help President Bush.
MS. HILL: All right. Americans, you know what is at stake here. They are discussing this. They are trying to get this amendment attached to it. And if you want to be protected in case you ever report anything suspicious regarding national security, this is something you need to talk to your congressman about.
So, Peter King, thank you very much.
REP. KING: And they have to do it right away.
MS. HILL: Yeah, it is -- it's going on right now.
REP. KING: And they have to do it today.
MS. HILL: Okay, call to action.